Leaving the University

7: Leaving the University

As noted previously, employment at the university is at will unless covered by a contract. This means that as a staff member you may end your employment with the university at any time. Conversely, the university may also terminate your employment with or without cause and with or without notice at any time.

7.1 Resignation

When leaving the university voluntarily staff members are expected to provide a written resignation statement addressed to their supervisor which includes the effective date and the reason for termination. Some of the specific circumstances that may result in termination of employment from the university are listed below. You should give your resignation to your supervisor at least 10 workdays before your intended date of termination. Failure to provide notice 10 workdays before the effective date of termination may affect future university employment opportunities.

The university provides a listing of actions you should consider when leaving the university including an online exit survey along with information on benefits upon termination.

7.2 Retirement

If you are considering early or regular retirement, the university provides a variety of resources to assist with your planning including individual retirement counseling, steps for preparing for retirement, retirement FAQs, and retirement readiness information. Contact the Benefits Administration at benefits@gwu.edu 90 days before the first day of retirement to discuss information and resources to assist you in understanding the status of your benefits upon retirement.

7.3 Expiration of Appointment

If you are employed in a sponsored research position or an externally funded position, the specific funding agreement may determine the terms of your employment. In some cases, your employment may expire on predetermined dates; in others, your employment may be terminated because funding has been reduced or eliminated. If you are employed in a regular position which is eliminated because of a reduction in or lack of grant funding, the university’s guidance on Position Elimination will apply.

7.4 Elimination of Position

Unit heads along with their management teams are responsible for determining the organizational structures that best meet the operational needs and available resources of their units. Circumstances that may result in a position elimination can include restructuring/reorganization, change in academic priorities and/or business needs, outsourcing of function to a vendor, reallocation of funding, and budget reductions. A change in an employee’s position, pay, or job responsibilities without a loss of employment, such as a transfer from one department to another, a reclassification of a position, a change in supervisory reporting lines, or a reduction in salary or work hours, is not a position elimination. If there is a direct conflict between Position Elimination guidance and an applicable collective bargaining agreement, the collective bargaining agreement will prevail.

7.5 Abandonment of Position

If you are absent for three consecutive workdays without notifying your supervisor of the reason for the absences, you will be terminated for abandonment of your position.

7.6 Failure to Complete Introductory Employment Period

You may be terminated during or at the conclusion of the introductory employment period if you have not demonstrated the skills, job knowledge, attitudes, work habits, or other qualifications necessary for continued employment. You may be terminated before the conclusion of this period if your supervisor and Human Resources conclude that such action is appropriate.

7.7 Poor Work Performance

You may be terminated before the end of a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) if, after a counseling by your supervisor, your poor work performance/habits have not been corrected.

7.8 Other

You may be terminated as part of a chain of progressive discipline or without prior disciplinary action when your actions, in the university's judgment, warrant immediate termination.

Actions that may result in termination without prior disciplinary action include but are not limited to the following:

  • Dishonesty, falsification of records, or stealing
  • Fighting
  • Sleeping on the job
  • Absence without approved leave (AWOL)
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Financial mismanagement
  • Behavior evidencing incapacity to perform on the job
  • Excessive absenteeism or tardiness
  • Damage, destruction, or abuse of university property
  • Unauthorized use or possession of alcoholic beverages or controlled or illegal substances; reporting to work while under the influence of alcohol or controlled or illegal substances
  • Unauthorized possession or use of a firearm or other weapon
  • Conduct that threatens the safety or well-being of yourself or others


If you have questions or comments about the Employee Handbook, please fill out the feedback form or email askuhr@gwu.edu.