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.

Resignation or Voluntary Separation of Employment

Non-exempt staff members are expected to give two weeks of working notice when resigning their employment with The George Washington University. Exempt staff members will provide enough working notice, no less than one month, to enable a smooth transition of responsibilities. Contact your HR Representative, if you have any questions or concerns.

Staff members should submit their resignations in writing to their supervisors. Staff members may not use vacation, holidays, or any other type of paid absences to extend their termination date with the exception of staff that retire from The George Washington University

Failure to provide the appropriate workday notice before the effective date of termination may affect future university employment opportunities.

Some of the specific circumstances that may result in termination of employment from the university are listed below.

Voluntary Terminations Reasons

An employee may choose to resign from their employment with the university for a variety of reasons. The list below can provide guidance on voluntary terminations.


 Accepted New Job: Voluntary resignation in good standing in which employee has identified a new job offer as the primary reason for resignation

 Failure to Return from Leave of Absence (Voluntary): Rehire eligibility may depend upon circumstances for not returning and whether the employee gave notice that they would not return.

Graduation (Student): Graduated from GW (student only) Employee does not need to submit resignation in this case.

Job Dissatisfaction: Dissatisfied with factor(s) of the job

Personal Reasons: Voluntary resignation in good standing with no more specific reason given

 Relocation: Employee resigns due to relocating to another area.

 Retirement: Employee has met all rules for retirement from GW and retirement has been approved/processed by Benefits. Employee should give a minimum of 90 days advance notice to his or her manager and notify Benefits.

Returned to School: Employee resigned to return to school.


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, and retirement readiness information. Contact the Benefits Administration at [email protected] 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.

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.

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.

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.

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 Resource Management and Development conclude that such action is appropriate.

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.


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

Leaving the University: Checklist

We recommend staff leaving the university fill out a brief online exit survey or meet with their HR Representative for an in-person exit interview as an opportunity to share opinions and comments about working at GW. Information provided is kept in the strictest professional confidence and is useful in helping the university improve its operations. In the case of voluntary termination, staff should notify their supervisor at least two weeks before their departure date. Please note: an employee's last working day cannot fall on a holiday or any other scheduled time off, except when the employee is on job protected leave or is regularly scheduled to work on the holiday.

The following checklist can help organize an staff member's departure:

  • Complete voluntary online (or in-person) exit survey.
  • Return the following to supervisor or HR representative:
    • ID card(s)
    • Keys
    • Work equipment
    • Work materials
  • If necessary, also do the following:
    • Return GW corporate charge card to Procurement and reconcile all pending charges with Finance Director.
    • Check with Student Accounts Services to see that all charges have been paid.
    • Notify Parking Services and fill out a termination form.
    • Check with the appropriate libraries to make sure that library materials have been returned.
    • Review benefits options upon leaving the university.
    • Update home address with Payroll or online through GWeb.

Supervisors are reminded to remove all access and privileges to systems assigned to staff who are leaving the university and contact the Division of Information Technology to remove access to enterprise systems such as Enterprise Accounting System (EAS), Banner, PeopleAdmin, Virtual Private Network (VPN), long distance access, other GW-owned telecommunications systems, voicemail, etc.