5.17 Layoff/Reduction in Force

Origination date: 10/1/93
Revised: 1/1/2000
Applicability: Classified Staff

Purpose

The purpose of the layoff policy is to provide a consistent and fair methodology to follow when it becomes necessary for the university to reduce staffing or significantly change work requirements for departments and classified staff employees, including department reorganizations.

Layoff/Reduction in Force

Elimination or reduction in funding or need, reduced or changed work requirements, or department reorganization may necessitate employee layoffs. A layoff/reduction in force may occur within any job classification assigned either to a department or to a specific functional area of a department (department program).

The department administrator shall contact the Human Resources Department for information on the layoff procedures.

This policy is not intended to cover student employees, temporary employees, probationary employees, or those employees hired under a fixed or limited term including grants or temporary positions. Under the above conditions, these employees would be terminated rather than laid off.

Employees identified for layoff may elect to voluntarily terminate their university employment in lieu of being placed on layoff status.

Definitions

Department - A function or several functions/programs and activities which are assigned to an employee who has responsibility for a unit. Such employees typically report to an assistant/associate vice president, vice president, or president.

Department Program - A specific functional portion of a department which is assigned to an employee who has responsibility for the portion of the department. Such employee typically reports to a dean, director or department head.

Grant – A university contract, which provides limited term funds for specific products and services funded through a grant contract.

Laid-off employee - An employee who is relieved of employment responsibilities and salary due to such situations as described above.

Recall - The right of an employee on layoff status to return to the same position and duties, in the same job classification in the same department or departmental program at the time of layoff, if such position becomes available.

Reemployment - The right of an employee who is on layoff status to apply and be considered for positions for which recruiting is open to the public or restricted to university and department employees only.

Notification – All laid off employees shall receive written notice of layoff 60 days prior to the beginning of the layoff. This may include a requirement to use vacation and compensatory time.

Determining Affected Employees

The determination of the employee(s) to be laid off shall be based upon the job classification(s) within the department or departmental program(s) affected by the reduction in the following order:

  • Equal treatment – employees shall be considered for layoff without regard for sex, race, color, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, or veteran status.
  • Probationary Employees – employees who are in their initial six-month probationary status and are in the job classifications(s) identified within the department or departmental program(s) specified for reduction in force shall be terminated. They will have no recall rights.
  • Skills and Abilities – an employee who does not possess the necessary skills and abilities required to perform the duties for the continued operation of the department or departmental program shall be selected for layoff.
  • Performance – the average of the overall ratings on the three most recent written performance appraisals within the department or department program submitted to the Human Resources Department, as well as other performance-related documents on department file shall be considered in selecting employees for layoff.
  • Length of Service with the University – the employee’s length of continuous service to the university shall be considered in selecting employees for layoff. The employee(s) with the longest length of service shall be laid off last after consideration of the above items.
  • Employees on Approved Leave of Absence – an employee on any approved leave of absence during a layoff period may be subject to layoff in accordance with the above considerations.

Recall/Reemployment Rights

All eligible laid off employees, with the exception of six-month probationary employees, shall retain recall rights to the previous position and duties in the job classification and within the department or departmental program from which they were laid off for a period of six months from the effective date of layoff. Unless recalled earlier, laid off employees shall be terminated at the end of this six-month period. If, while on layoff status, an employee accepts any other university regular status position, he/she thereby relinquishes all recall rights. A recalled employee does not serve a probationary period. If a laid off employee accepts a regular position outside the university, the layoff status will be unaffected by this change. The employee should notify the Benefits section of the Human Resources Department.

In the case of multiple layoffs of the same position in the same department or departmental program, recall will be in the reverse order of layoff priority. The last person laid off will be the first person recalled.

A laid-off employee who twice refuses a job interview for a regular status position within the university or refuses one job offer for a regular status position within the university shall relinquish all recall rights and shall be terminated effective the date of the qualifying refusal.

The Human Resources Department will provide layoff information and, upon request by the employee, will review the employee’s application and resume in preparation for the employee applying for a university position.

Insurance and Leave Benefits

An employee on layoff status may continue group insurance during the layoff period provided he/she pays both the employer and employee monthly premium cost to the Benefits section of the Human Resources Department at the beginning of each calendar month of layoff. COBRA benefits run simultaneously with layoff status.

A laid-off employee does not accrue vacation or sick leave and does not earn retirement service credits during the layoff period. Sick leave benefits accrued prior to layoff are retained by the laid-off employee during the layoff period but may not be used during the layoff period. Accrued sick leave will not be paid upon layoff or termination.

If work is available and mutually agreed upon in advance by the supervisor and the employee, the employee may continue working up to the effective date of layoff. Upon layoff, the employee will be paid for accrued vacation (up to one year’s accrual) in a lump sum at the regularly scheduled paycheck distribution time following the last day physically worked.

Employees on layoff status may continue to have access to the benefit of tuition waivers and use of university facilities.

Administrative Review

An employee who has been notified of layoff may request an administrative review of the layoff decision by the Human Resources Department. The employee’s request for review must be filed with the Human Resources Department no later than 10 calendar days from receipt of the written notification of layoff. The employee shall submit his/her request for such review in writing to his/her supervisor and the Human Resources Department, giving details or reasons why the employee believes this action was in violation of policy, and specifying the requested relief and notice of “Request for Administrative Review”.

A representative in the Human Resources Department will conduct a review, and submit findings and a recommendation to the appropriate provost/vice president within 20 calendar days of receipt of such request. The provost/vice president shall notify the employee in writing of the final decision on the layoff within 10 calendar days of conclusion of the investigation. The provost/vice president or designee’s decisions shall be considered final. Employees identified for layoff status may not grieve their layoff under the grievance policy. Refer to Policy 5.21 Grievance Procedures.