Policies & Contracts

208 - Termination of Employment

Subject: Termination of Employment

Section: U208

Date: October, 2016


To provide guidelines for the termination of staff employees from the University.


Term Definition
HR Partner Department/division personnel who serves as the representative for the department in all human resources issues and processes staff transactions in campus HR systems (i.e. Workday and UChicago Jobs) on behalf of their department/division.
University HR The central human resources body for the university made up of Centers for Expertise (COE).
HR-Employee and Labor Relations The COE responsible for oversight of the university's staff employee and labor relations policy and processes.
HR-Benefits The COE responsible for providing oversight and administering employee benefits plans.
At Will Employment Employment that is a matter of continuing agreement between the employee and the university. Either the employee or the University may decide to end the employee's employment for any reason not prohibited by law, at any time. Applies to employees not covered by a collective bargaining agreement.
Benefits Eligible Position A regular staff position that is scheduled to work an average of 20 hours or more per week and is therefor eligible for benefits.
Non-Benefits Eligible Position Positions that are expected to continue for at least twelve consecutive months at 19.5 hours or less per week.
Temporary Position A position that is expected to continue for less than twelve months.


Terminations should be handled consistently pursuant to the guidelines that follow. Before proceeding with any termination action, a supervisor should review all appropriate policy statements and consult with Human Resources (HR).

For employees working in a position covered by a collective bargaining agreement, refer to the agreement which governs the terms and conditions of employment. All other employees are what the law terms "at will" employees. This means that employment is a matter of continuing agreement between the employee and the University. Either the employee or the University may decide to end the employee's employment here for any reason not prohibited by law, at any time. Nothing in this policy changes either an employee's "at will" employment or the collective bargaining arrangement.

Reasons for staff employee terminations include:

  1. Resignation
  2. Discharge for violation of University policies*:
  3. Other involuntary termination*:
    • Layoff;
    • Long-Term Disability; and
    • Unsuccessful completion of probationary period
    • End of academic appointment or contract without renewal or reappointment 
  4. Retirement
  5. Death

* This is not an exhaustive list.

All involuntary terminations must be approved in advance by HR - Employee and Labor Relations. Employees terminated for the following reasons will not be considered for future employment at the University of Chicago or the University of Chicago Medical Center:

  • Unsuccessful Completion of Probationary Period;
  • Failure to Report;
  • Falsification of Information;
  • Attendance (Absenteeism and Tardiness);
  • Job Abandonment;
  • Possession of/Concealing a Weapon;
  • Working Under the Influence;
  • Misuse of Data Systems;
  • Violation of Call-in Policy;
  • Theft;
  • Fighting;
  • Insubordination;
  • Sleeping on the Job;
  • Disclosure/Misuse of Confidential Information;
  • Damage/Loss/Misuse of University Property;
  • Absence from Work Area;
  • Abusive/Threatening Behavior/Language;
  • Failure to Comply with University Policies and Procedures;
  • Resigned in Lieu of Termination;
  • Insufficient Notice (voluntary)
  • Other Involuntary Termination
  • Possession/Use of Intoxicants; and
  • Unsatisfactory work performance.


  1. The HR Partner must initiate the termination process for any worker who contract or appointment ends, does not have a current employment relationship with the university, and is not otherwise on an approved leave of absence. Human Resources may initiate the termination if this is not initiated in a timely manner by the HR Partner.
  2. When a staff employee voluntarily resigns from the University, it is expected that he/she will give the University sufficient notice in advance. A staff employee who fails to give sufficient notice as part of his/her voluntary termination may not be eligible for re-employment.

    Sufficient notice constitutes:

    • at least one (1) month advance notice for staff employees paid monthly;
    • at least two (2) week’s advance notice for staff employees paid biweekly.
    • No stated advance notice is required (although notice would be appropriate) temporary staff employees.
  3. A staff employee who transfers from one position to another within the University is also expected to comply with the above guidelines or to coordinate an alternative arrangement agreed upon by both the current and prospective supervisor.
  4. A staff employee’s voluntary resignation is effective as soon as it is submitted.
  5. The department should send a written acknowledgment to any benefits-eligible employee, who terminates his/her employment verbally.
  6. A terminating staff employee is required to turn in all University property, including I.D., keys, uniforms, tools, parking permits, library books, electronic equipment, and electronically stored data prior to the date his/her last day worked. A terminating staff employee is expected to make arrangements for clearing all of his/her University debts.
  7. Upon termination of employment, a benefits-eligible staff employee shall be paid for his/her accrued vacation and personal holidays allowable under University policy. Accrued sick leave is not paid upon termination. A terminating staff employee must be paid no later than the next regularly scheduled payday.
  8. For a terminating staff employee, including a laid-off staff employee, an exit interview or use of an outplacement services firm may, on occasion, be appropriate. HR conducts exit interviews upon request.
  9. A terminating staff employee should be advised by his/her supervisor to contact the Benefits Office regarding his/her pension benefits and insurance coverage, including retiree health insurance, health care continuation under COBRA or the purchase of a conversion policy for life insurance, and other coverage from an outside provider.
  10. A staff employee who becomes unable to work due to an illness or injury should be encouraged to contact the Benefits Office regarding eligibility for certain disability programs prior to making a decision to terminate employment.
  11. The unit should initiate the termination in Workday on or before the date of  termination to allow for the efficient handling of a staff employee's final paycheck, Unemployment Compensation Insurance claims, COBRA notifications, and/or other relevant matters.
  12. When a staff employee terminates, the supervisor should ensure that information systems technology access codes are disabled in a timely manner.
  13. The supervisor should inform the Benefits Office upon first learning of the death of a staff employee. Survivors of a deceased staff employee should be referred to the Benefits Office to complete the necessary documents for insurance claims and for release of a deceased employee’s final paycheck.

Employees represented by a union may be governed by the appropriate bargaining unit agreement.