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Employee Separation Policy

Purpose

Consistent with Columbia College's commitment to its employees, the College aims to ensure that situations when employees leave employment with the College, including for voluntary and involuntary reasons, are handled in a professional and respectful manner with minimal disruption to the workplace.

Scope

This policy applies to College employees.

Policy

At-Will Employment

This is a reminder that as a general matter, employment with the College is voluntary and subject to separation by the employee or the College for lawful reasons at any time, with or without cause, and with or without notice. Nothing in this policy, or other policies, shall be construed to modify in any way the employment-at-will status of Columbia College employees. It is worth noting that there are certain employees who have formal written employment contracts and tenured-faculty who may not be subject to at-will employment.

Voluntary Separation

Voluntary separation from employment can occur when an employee decides, for whatever reason(s), to leave employment with the College and indicates this intent, verbally or in writing, to the College. Employees can inform their manager and/or the Human Resources Department of their intent to leave employment. The College asks employees deciding to leave the College to provide at least two (2) weeks of advance notice of their departure to help ensure as minimal disruption as possible. Situations where an employee abandons their job (i.e., has unapproved/unexcused absences) could also be considered voluntary separations.

The Human Resources Department should be informed in advance of all separations from employment. Human Resources will help coordinate the employee's departure from the College. This process typically includes returning all College property, reviewing post-separation benefits information, and an exit interview.

The employee's manager is responsible for completing and submitting a PIF (Payroll Information Form) to Human Resources and Payroll on the last date of employment.

Involuntary Separation

Involuntary separation from employment typically occurs when the College makes the decision to end the employment relationship with an employee. This can occur for a number of reasons, including for job performance, misconduct, reorganization, and/or business reasons. The College takes all involuntary separation decisions seriously and they require the involvement of Human Resources before any decisions are made.

The employee's manager is responsible for completing and submitting a PIF (Payroll Information Form) to Human Resources and Payroll on the last date of employment.

Death of an Employee

In some circumstances, a separation from employment can occur because of a death. Upon receiving information of the death of an employee, the employee's manager should immediately notify Human Resources.

Final Pay

An employee who separates from employment with the College will typically receive their final pay on the date of separation and consistent with State laws. To the extent permitted by law, adjustments may be made in the event the employee has outstanding loans, advances, or other agreements with the College.

Health Insurance

Medical, dental, and vision insurance coverage terminates on the last day of the month in which the separation from employment occurs. Information about options to continue health coverage via COBRA is provided to the employee following separation and consistent with legal requirements.

Return of College Property

Employees must return all College property at or before the time of separation, including uniforms, cellphones, keys, laptops, identification cards, etc. Failure to return some items may result in deductions from the employee's final paycheck, where State law allows.

Exit Interview

The Human Resources Department will contact employees who voluntarily separate from employment to schedule an exit interview on or before the employee's last day of work.

Eligibility for Rehire

Employees who leave the College in good standing may be considered for rehire. Former employees must still follow the normal application and hiring processes and must meet all minimum qualifications and requirements of a position. Rehired employees will not retain previous status when calculating longevity, leave accruals, or any other benefits, unless required by law.

Employees who involuntarily separate from employment with the College do so in all capacities, including as adjuncts, proctors and other employment capacities. 

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