304: Layoffs


If layoffs are required, Georgetown University will follow the layoff procedures outlined in this policy.  The procedures are designed to administer layoffs in an equitable manner and in conformance with applicable laws and regulations.

Reasons for layoffs may include shortage of funds, shortage of work, the elimination of one or more positions, or other material changes in duties within a position or within the organizational structure of a department, program, or other administrative unit. 

If  regular, academic and administrative professional, senior level executive, or senior level professional positions are eliminated in a department or unit as a result of outsourcing and a regular employee whose position is eliminated is offered a comparable position with the company that executes the outsourcing contract with the University, then that employee shall not be deemed to have been laid off and the provisions of this layoff policy shall not be applicable. If the employee is offered a comparable position at the company but does not accept it, then the employee will be considered to have voluntarily separated himself or herself from University service.  If the employee is not offered a comparable position by the company, then the employee will be considered to have been laid off and the provisions of this layoff policy shall be applicable.  As used in this paragraph, the term “comparable position” means a position that (1) offers a salary that is not less than ninety percent of the employee’s final salary as a University employee; (2) offers weekly or monthly hours of employment that are equivalent to the employee’s final hours as a University employee ( in other words, represent a full- time position if the employee held a full-time position at the University, a half-time position if the employee held a half-time position, and so forth); (3) qualifies the employee for employee benefits if (a) the employee qualified for health and welfare benefits at the University, and (b) the company offers a health and welfare benefit plan; and (4) entails the performance of job duties that are substantially the same as the duties the employee performed at the University. 

Departments are responsible for management decisions about what work needs to be done and how best to carry out that work.  Each department must administer the policy on layoffs in accordance with the procedures outlined below.


The University recognizes that at certain times layoffs are necessary to meet the needs of the organization.  University procedures are designed to promote respect for the individual throughout the layoff process.

In accordance with its policy on equal employment opportunity and the requirements of applicable Federal, State and District of Columbia law, the University will effect decisions regarding layoff and recall without unlawful discrimination.


As used in this policy, the following definitions apply:

Layoff Unit – A department or other programmatic unit in which one or more layoffs occur.  A layoff unit may be a department or a programmatic unit that is larger or smaller than a department.  Where the layoff unit is different than a department, the layoff unit must represent a discrete, coherent, programmatically justifiable grouping of people.

Department Head – The person designated by the Vice President of an area to be immediately responsible for the administration of a layoff unit.

Vice President – The President, Provost, Executive Vice President, Senior Vice President or Vice President in whose area one or more layoffs occur.

Human Resources – The Georgetown University Medical Center Human Resources Department (for layoffs occurring at Georgetown University Medical Center) or the University Human Resources Department (for layoffs occurring anywhere else in the University).

Outsourcing – The process, embodied in a formal, written contract executed by the Vice President and Treasurer or designee, by which the function or functions performed by a department or other unit are assigned on a permanent basis to a company or organization external to the University, with the resulting elimination of one or more regular employee positions at the University.

Layoff Plan 
The Department Head must complete the Layoff Review Plan.  He/She is responsible for (a) the decision that one or more employees should be laid off,  (b) designating the layoff unit or units in which layoffs will occur, and (c) applying the criteria set forth below for the selection of the individuals to be laid off, (d) consulting HR and Affirmative Action during the planning stages of any reorganization or layoff plan. If the Department Head designates a layoff unit that is smaller than or larger than a single University cost center, the rationale for that designation must be explained. If new positions must be defined or old positions reclassified to carry out the work after layoffs are effected, the Department Head must obtain the approval of Human Resources and Affirmative Action before individual employees are selected for layoff.

Any planned layoff of 10 or more employees within any 90-day period within a single Vice Presidential area requires the concurrence of the Vice President and must be discussed with and approved in concept in advance by the President or his designee.

Order of Layoff 
The selection of employees for layoff within a designated layoff unit and within a particular job classification and grade level will be made in the following sequence and in accordance with the following criteria.

  • Temporary employees will be eliminated first. The other sections of this policy do not apply to them.
  • Newly hired regular employees who have not completed their probationary periods will be laid off before employees who have completed their probationary periods.
  • Regular employees who have completed their probationary periods will be selected for layoff in accordance with the following criteria:
  • Qualifications (knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to staff the positions remaining);
  • Level of performance, as determined on the basis of documented performance evaluations and complete personnel files;
  • Presence or absence of documentation of poor job performance or unsatisfactory conduct; and
  • If all other factors are equal, seniority will govern (least senior employees will be selected for layoff first, with seniority measured by years of continuous University service).

The department must provide a written justification of the application of these criteria, including documentation for each individual layoff decision when selecting among employees who are in the same classification and grade level.

  • In determining the order of layoff, there will be no presumption that an employee is entitled to be retained if the employee is not qualified for or does not possess the ability to perform the duties of the position in which he or she would be retained.
  • Layoff of senior-level executives and managers may occur based on operational needs and without regard to job classification or level.

Internal Review of the Layoff Plan Prior to Implementation  
The layoff plan must be submitted to Human Resources and the Office of Affirmative Action Programs in sufficient time to allow those offices to conduct an internal review. In the case of a planned layoff of 10 employees or more within any 90-day period from a single Vice Presidential area, the layoff plan must also be submitted to the University Counsel. Human Resources will be responsible for coordinating the review process. The pertinent reviewing offices will review the layoff plan to ensure that the plan (a) is consistent with Equal Employment Opportunity policies, (b) provides adequate and appropriately documented programmatic justification for the identification of layoff units, and (c) provides appropriate documented justification for the selection of particular employees for layoff within a classification and grade level. A layoff plan cannot be implemented until it has received the approval of the appropriate reviewing offices.


Notice to Affected Employees 
Written notification of layoff must be given to affected employees at least two weeks before the effective date of the layoff.  A department may, however, provide 2 weeks pay in lieu of this notice.  The notification must include (a) the effective date of the layoff, (b) a summary of the reasons for the layoff, (c) an explanation of the amount of severance pay and accrued paid leave for which the employee qualifies, and (d) an explanation of the employee’s appeals process, if otherwise eligible.

Severance Pay 
Severance pay of one week for each year of service will be awarded in addition to pay for the notice period. The amount of severance pay per week will be prorated for part-time employees. The amount of severance pay will be based on years of service with the University as follows: One week of severance pay for each year of service. 

Payment shall be made in a lump sum. If an individual is recalled or re-employed during the severance pay period (the effective date of lay off increased by the number of weeks associated with the severance pay calculation), then his or her severance pay will be adjusted and that part repaid to the University to correspond to the period of time remaining in the severance pay period. Persons placed in other positions at Georgetown will not receive severance pay. Persons who are offered and decline a comparable position at Georgetown University are not entitled to severance.

This provision shall not apply to an employee who has an individual contract with a different severance arrangement.

Tuition benefits 
An employee who is laid off and who is receiving tuition benefits is eligible to receive tuition benefits for himself or herself during the semester in which the layoff occurs. If the original approval was for a two-semester course, the employee will be eligible to receive the benefit for the second semester. An employee who is laid off is eligible to receive tuition benefits for dependent children for the remainder of the academic year in which the layoff occurs. An employee should consult with the Payroll Department about taxes for which he or she may be liable.

Competitive placement 
At any time during the layoff notice period or after the effective date of layoff, an employee has the right to apply and compete, without prejudice, with other internal applicants (and, where appropriate, external applicants) for any open posted position for which he or she is qualified.

Following layoff, a regular employee will be recalled if a position in the same classification and grade level and in the same department or layoff unit becomes available. An individual will be eligible for recall for up to 12-months after the effective date of layoff, or a period of time equivalent to his or her length of continuous employment with the University, whichever is less. If more than one employee is on layoff status in that classification and grade level, the same criteria used in determining order of layoff will be used in determining order of recall. A regular employee with documented less-than-satisfactory performance on the last annual review and/or an active formal disciplinary action prior to the effective date of lay off is not eligible for recall.

Re-employment Rights 
A former regular employee, who is recalled or re-employed within 12 months of the date of layoff, or within a period of time equivalent to his or her length of continuous employment with the University, whichever is less, will be given his or her original start date and the period of layoff will be treated as a non-paid leave of absence.  This will not effect the terms and conditions of benefits plans unless inconsistent with benefit plans.

Paid Leave 
An employee who is laid off will be paid for unused accrued paid leave in accordance with the Paid Leave policy.

An employee who is laid off and subsequently re-employed will serve a probationary period unless he or she is recalled to the same position in the same layoff unit from which he or she was laid off.

Waiving rights 
If during the period of eligibility for recall or the period described in the re-employment rights section of this policy the individual rejects the offer of an equivalent or higher-level position for which he or she is qualified, the individual waives his or her right to recall.  The University will have fulfilled its responsibility to recall and the individual will not receive any further notification.

Right to invoke the Dispute Resolution process 
An employee who is otherwise eligible to seek formal dispute resolution under the Dispute Resolution Policy is entitled to submit the dispute under that policy contesting his or her layoff.  The issue to be appealed is limited to factors in part three of the “Order of  Layoff” section of this policy.

Consolidation of disputes 
Disputes from employees in the same layoff unit may be consolidated and treated as a single dispute as provided in the Dispute Resolution Policy.


All University departments must follow the procedures outlined above.


Contact the appropriate Human Resources department if you have questions or would like more information about this policy.