Resignation and Termination

Postdocs are appointees-at-will, meaning postdoc appointments may be terminated at the will of either the George Washington University (GW) or the postdoc, with or without cause and with or without notice.

A postdoc's last working day cannot fall on a holiday or any other scheduled time off, except when the postdoc is on job protected leave or is regularly scheduled to work on the holiday.

Voluntary Termination

It is important that voluntary terminations are processed in a timely manner to comply with laws that require the university to inform postdocs of their benefits upon termination within a defined period and to prevent overpayment of compensation and benefits to postdocs who have left the university. We encourage postdocs to:

  • Participate in an exit interview with HR Service Delivery. Exit interviews are not obligatory but recommended. 
  • Contact Benefits to discuss benefits upon termination.
  • Return GWorld card, keys, procurement/credit cards, cell phones, laptops, uniforms, and other GW equipment and supplies on their last workday to the faculty mentor.
  • Remove personal items from the workspace either at the time of termination or after work hours or on the weekend upon discussing the time and date with the faculty mentor.

Involuntary Termination

Reasons for involuntary terminations are described below. Reasons in italics indicate ineligibility for reappointment and/or hire.

  • Abandonment of Job: Postdoc stopped coming to work with no explanation and no contact with their department.
  • Employment Authorization/I-9 Expired: Postdoc failed to provide Form I-9 documentation verifying eligibility to work in the U.S. or failed the E-verify process.
  • End of Appointment: Contract appointment ends or appointment is not renewed (Postdoc leaves in good standing.).
  • Excessive Absences/Attendance: Chronic unscheduled absences, tardiness and/or early departures (applies for situations not covered under ADA or FMLA).
  • Failure to Return from Leave of Absence: Reappointment eligibility may depend upon circumstances for not returning and whether the postdoc gave notice that s/he would not return.
  • Gross Misconduct: Egregious violations of rules/laws resulting in termination.
  • Lack of Funding: Involuntary termination in good standing due to lack of grant funding for position.
  • Misconduct/Violation of Rules: Serious inappropriate behavior; used when one of the more specific reasons does not cover the situation, such as conflict of interest, insubordination, sleeping on the job, or violation of university policy.
  • Unsatisfactory Performance: Postdoc failed to meet expectations of the position, including failing to satisfactorily complete the introductory appointment period.

Involuntary Termination Checklist

When a postdoc terminates from the university, there are a number of considerations that must be addressed as part of the exit. Please use this checklist to assist with the transition.

  • Talk to your manager about leave balances.
  • Return university property, such as:
    • GWorld Card. Make sure that you discuss with your manager how to exit from the garage if you park in the university's garage parking.
    • Laptop
    • VPN Token
    • Cell Phone/pagers/radios
    • P-Card
    • Keys (building, office, desk, file cabinet, vehicle, locker, etc.)
    • Tool/gear/instruments or other job accessories
    • Records (files, documents, correspondence, etc)
  • Complete exit interviews with an HR representative. Not obligatory but desired.
  • Immediately submit any pending expense or reimbursement requests (with receipts) for approval.
  • Contact Benefits for information on COBRA, retirement, disability, flexible spending accounts, health savings accounts and more.
  • Check with the GWorld Card office for any Campus Cash/debit dollar balance.
  • Return any library books to GW libraries.