Managing Employee Separations
Termination of employment may be voluntary, involuntary or as a result of job elimination.
A voluntary separation is an employee-initiated resignation.
An involuntary separation is initiated by the University. Examples of reasons for involuntary terminations, other than job elimination, include but are not limited to:
- Unsatisfactory job performance, failure to adequately perform assigned duties and/or work performance is below required standards
- Engaging in conduct in the workplace that violates any federal, state or local law, ordinance or regulation
- Violation of Columbia University policies
- Conflict of interest
- Excessive absenteeism or tardiness
For any involuntary separation, CUHR and the Office of the General Counsel must be consulted.
All cases of involuntary termination of employement involving staff covered by a collective bargaining unit must be reviewed and approved by the Office of Labor Relations.
Job elmination is a termination initiated by the University because the job or position is discontinued due to a lack of work, significant change of work/responsibilities, or a lack of funds. Severance may be available to Officers or Non-Union Support Staff as a result of a job elimination. See Separations in the HR Policy Manual for details.
All cases of involuntary termination of employment involving staff covered by a collective bargaining unit must be reviewed and approved by the Office of Labor Relations.
Separations of Non-Union Support Staff and Officers of Administration are governed by the Separations Sections of the HR Policy Manual.
- Review the Terminations of Employment policy
- Notify your HR Client Manager of all staff separations
- For all employee separations, complete all appropriate actions on the Employment Separation Checklist (Word)
- In cases where the termination is not for cause, an exit interview may be conducted with the departing employee. Complete an Exit Interview Report (PDF/Word) .
- Reconcile and determine any accrued and unused vacation or personal days before issuing final payment
- Process employee termination as soon as possible after being notified or after separation has been communicated to the employee:
- For resignations, discharges or releases, the online process may be used. Click here for details on the E-term process. Also see the Manager Self-Service Online Termination Training Presentation (PDF).
- For job eliminations (layoffs), retirement or death, a PAF is required. Click here for details on the manual PAF process.
- Advise departing employees of their eligibility for certain entitlements offered under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) — see Benefits at Columbia – COBRA (only applicable for involuntary separations) and Managing Benefits: New COBRA Rules Under the Economic Stimulus Package