This policy provides rules governing the termination of University employees. This policy sets requirements for initiating and processing different types of terminations within the human resources system, and establishes documentation requirements and roles and responsibilities for each termination situation.
The establishment of requirements for terminations ensures that terminations are handled consistently across the University.
This policy applies to all employees who separate from employment, whether voluntary or involuntary, must be handled in a responsible manner by all individuals involved. The policy includes, but is not limited to full-time employees, faculty, part-time employees, off-site employees, temp-casual employees, student employees, and graduate assistants.
Other than employees covered by Collective Bargaining Agreements, University staff employees have an "at will" relationship with the University. 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 employment relationship for any reason not prohibited by law, at any time.
The Department of Human Resources is responsible for establishing and overseeing the application of this Termination Policy. Each campus Human Resources office is responsible for administering this Policy.
Discipline & Separation Actions
A staff member who decides to leave employment at Pacific may voluntarily provide such notice in writing to his or her supervisor and Human Resources. Pacific asks that the staff member provide at least two (2) weeks' notice to provide the department an opportunity to initiate staffing plans in addition to processing the final pay check, benefits status forms, scheduling of an exit interview and return of University property.
If a staff member is absent without prior approval for three (3) working days or more, Pacific shall view such action as abandonment of his or her position. Such action on the part of the staff member shall constitute a voluntary resignation.
In order to ensure a smooth transition from employment to retirement, staff members should plan well in advance of the desired date of retirement. Prospective retirees should review with retirement plan experts the various annuity income options to make appropriate selections. Relevant forms should be processed a minimum of three (3) months prior to the last workday in order to provide continuity between the last paycheck and retirement income. Retiring staff members should contact the local Social Security Office to secure information regarding benefits eligibility and to complete the necessary applications at the appropriate time.
To be eligible to continue group retiree medical and dental benefits by self‐payment, staff members must be fifty‐five (55) years of age and employed by Pacific for at least ten (10) consecutive years in a benefit eligible position. Staff members should evaluate their health and dental insurance needs and determine what plans will best meet those needs during retirement. Any needed changes must be made during an open enrollment period well in advance of retirement. The retired staff member and their dependents are eligible to continue as long as the program remains in effect. However, should the retiree cancel participation, they will not be allowed to re‐enroll.
A staff member may be laid off or reduced in hours for lack of work, elimination of the position, reorganization, budget reduction or other business or operational considerations. Pacific will identify the department, work group, and functions or job classifications to be affected. Selection for layoff will be based on management's judgment of the staff member's skill, ability, performance and competence to meet present and anticipated needs. Where skills and abilities are substantially equal, seniority shall apply.
In exchange for execution of a severance agreement including a general release, non‐exempt staff members shall be given a minimum of two (2) weeks' verbal or written notice or payment in lieu of the notice period. The staff member will also receive one (1) week's pay for each completed year of service up to a maximum of fourteen (14) weeks. NOTE: This provision does not pertain to grant or contract funded positions. Staff members who decline to enter into a severance agreement will not receive the two weeks' notice or severance pay.
In exchange for execution of a severance agreement including a general release, exempt staff members shall be given a minimum of one (1) month's written or verbal notice or payment in lieu of separation. The staff member should also get one (1) month's pay for each completed year of service up to a maximum of three (3) months. NOTE: This provision does not pertain to grant or contract funded positions.
A staff member who is laid off or whose hours have been reduced shall be given first consideration for rehire to the former assignment, for a period of one (1) year from the date of layoff or reduction in hours. The laid off staff member shall be notified by phone or mail of a call‐back opportunity and shall respond within three (3) working days from the date of contact. If the staff member fails to respond and to return to work within eleven (11) working days following recall, or is not rehired within one year, the staff member will receive no further priority consideration for recall.
A staff member may be disciplined if, in the sole judgment of management, the staff member fails to perform their job satisfactorily, fails to follow the directions of a supervisor, violates university rules or polices, or otherwise engages in inappropriate behavior.
The discipline may, but need not, take any of the following forms and may, but need not, follow the progression below where deemed appropriate: verbal warning; written warning; suspension; or termination.
Exceptions and deviations from the normal discipline procedures may occur whenever management determines it necessary. Under no circumstances does this policy alter the at‐will nature of the staff member's employment, or create a formal progressive discipline policy.
Pacific is the sole judge of whether or not to terminate the employment of a staff member. Termination decisions will not be made for reasons prohibited by applicable state or federal laws.
Pacific is an at‐will employer. The employment relationship can be terminated at any time by the employee or the employer, with or without cause, unless a written employment contract signed by the Assistant Vice President of Human Resources and the employee expressly states otherwise.
Upon termination, all staff members will receive their final paycheck in accordance with the time frame stipulated by applicable law. Final wages will be paid on the staff member's last workday, if being involuntarily terminated or if the staff member has provided at least seventy‐two (72) hours' notice.
End of Service
An exit interview will be performed with each terminating staff member whenever possible. The interview will focus on the staff member's reasons for leaving and opinions and recommendations for improving Pacific's policies and practices. The staff member will also receive information concerning benefits continuation and benefits conversion.
The staff member is responsible for the return of all university property, such as keys, computers, smart and cellular phones (including all accessories), records, files, books, equipment, credit cards/Procard, Pacific ID card, parking permit, etc., by the last day of employment.
The Employment Development Department (EDD), a State agency, determines eligibility for unemployment benefits. Contact the EDD online for information and to file a claim.
Violations In order to avoid significant financial liability and violation of state and Federal laws and regulations, it is important that careful consideration is given to the processing and handling of terminations.
For additional information please refer to the