Office of the Vice President for
Administration and Finance
SECTION: HUMAN RESOURCES INDEX: C-30
SUBJECT: REDUCTION IN FORCE
This policy prescribes the steps by which reduction in force decisions shall be made and implemented. When planning or budgeting needs dictate reduction in force decisions, it is university policy that these decisions are made only after careful analysis and that employees who are affected are treated fairly and with dignity.
The Director, Human Resources/Affirmative Action must be consulted early in
any organizational review that involves personnel reorganization,
reclassification, and/or the possibility of reducing the work force. All
necessary actions shall be taken to ensure that employees are treated fairly and
offered opportunities for reassignment, assistance, and re-employment.
This policy applies to decisions affecting all non-faculty regular employees
at UHV, regardless of the source of funds from which the position is paid.
Reduction in force (RIF): The elimination of an occupied position or
positions resulting from an administrative decision appropriate under such situations as a lack of funds, a lack
of sufficient work, reorganization, changes in technology or research needs, or
other factors that require some manner of reduction of university non-faculty
personnel. A suspension, dismissal, discharge, or discontinuance of
temporary employment does not constitute a reduction in force.
Regular employee (benefits-eligible): A university employee who
is employed for at least 20 hours per week on a regular basis for a period of at
least four and one-half months, excluding students employed in positions which
require student status as a condition of employment.
All reduction in force decisions should include the following elements:
- Careful analysis to determine
which areas, activities, programs, or organizations should be reduced.
- Identification of the jobs and
functions that will need to be performed after the reductions.
- Evaluation of qualifications
and abilities of present employees to perform the remaining jobs.
- Written notification to the
employee(s) affected by the reduction in force as soon as feasible, but not
less than 30 days prior to the effective date of the action.
- Reasonable opportunities for
displaced employees to interview for other employment.
- Placement and re-employment
assistance by the Human Resources Office.
- Opportunity for the displaced
employee to appeal, if he/she believes that the reason for the reduction
action was not related to a legitimate reduction in force factor or that the
procedures were improperly followed.
Development and Approval of a Reduction in Force Plan
The department head planning to
reduce a department’s or program’s work force shall develop a clear
statement of the rationale for eliminating or reducing programs and/or services.
The statement must address the ultimate benefits to be achieved, such as
reallocation of resources, effecting a budgetary reduction, or enhanced
Unit functions and responsibilities must be carefully analyzed to determine
which areas, activities, programs, organizations, or classifications should be
reduced and which jobs and functions will need to be performed after the
In evaluating employees to determine who can best perform the remaining jobs,
the unit supervisor may consider the following qualifications of present
- Effectiveness on the job,
including past performance, records of achievement, and disciplinary
- Specialized training and
skills necessary for a particular function, such as proficiency in use of
equipment, licenses, or special certification;
- Length of time in service with
- Amount of total work
experience in the field, including applicable non-university experience
The department head proposing the work force reduction shall prepare a
reduction in force plan that includes the statement of rationale, a list of the
positions and the employees affected, an explanation of the recommendations, a
summary of the racial, gender, age and disability
composition of the unit, including names and protected class status of
employees to be displaced, and all documentation prepared in the evaluation
The written plan shall be submitted to the to the Director, Human
Resources/Affirmative Action who will assist in completion of these materials,
if needed, and will review the plan to determine that all work force reductions
proposed are consistent with this policy and that protected classes are not
disproportionately affected by the reduction in force decision. Within
five working days, the Director, Human Resources/Affirmative Action will
forward the plan to the appropriate cabinet-level supervisor for concurrence and
signature approval of the plan.
Following approval, the written reduction in force plan shall then be
forwarded to the President for final approval. Only after the President
approves the recommendation may the department proceed with the notification
In the case of an employee whose duties are divided between two or more
departments, a reduction in force decision by one department will not obligate
the other(s) to increase the appointment and funding to compensate for the
Notification of the Affected Employee(s)
The department head implementing the reduction in force shall schedule
a personal meeting with the employee(s) affected not less than 30 days prior to
the effective date of the action. At that time, the employee(s) will be notified
and provided with a letter of notification of their reduction in force.
Each letter of notification must include language describing transition
assistance offered by the Human Resources Office
and the employee’s right to file an appeal. A copy of the notice of
reduction in force will be forwarded promptly to the Director, Human
Resources/Affirmative Action .
The reduction in force decision is effective upon delivery of the written
notice to the employee. An appeal does not affect the effective date of the
reduction in force.
An employee who has been notified of reduction in force may be removed from
the work site, with pay, immediately upon receipt of the notice of reduction in
force, if all the following conditions are met:
- The employee’s supervisor
believes taking this action would be in the best interest of the university;
- The employee’s supervisor is
able to justify this decision
in writing to the satisfaction of the Director, Human Resources/Affirmative
- The employee is given a
written work assignment to be completed away from the work site.
Placement Assistance and Re-employment Benefits
The Human Resources Office will provide support and services to assist
regular employees displaced as a result of reduction in force in obtaining
Subject to their supervisor’s approval, displaced employees will be granted
reasonable leave with pay to interview for other employment.
Displaced employees should make every effort to notify their supervisor
in advance of their need to be absent from the workplace to seek other
Benefits information will be made available to displaced employees,
identifying those benefits that cease upon termination, those benefits that can
be continued at employee expense, and retirement options (if applicable).
The names of employees displaced as a result of work force reduction will be
placed on a re-employment list in the order of displacement for a period of six
months following their termination. An employee who has been displaced as a
result of a work force reduction will be offered the same position if it is
re-established within six months of the reduction in force, provided that the
employee has retained the ability to perform the work.
When a vacancy occurs in a position that is determined by the Director, Human
Resources/Affirmative Action to require equivalent job skills within the
same or any other department, except as provided below, the name of the
displaced worker will be referred to the hiring supervisor for consideration.
A displaced employee may be bypassed for re-employment for any of the following
- Another employee has been or
will be voluntarily or involuntarily demoted to that classification within
- The displaced employee did not
previously work within the employing department; displaced employees
previously employed in that department may be given first consideration for
- The employing manager, in
consultation with the Director, Human Resources/Affirmative Action ,
determines that—on the basis of past performance, training, experience, or
skills—the applicant is not qualified to fill the position.
The Director, Human Resources/Affirmative Action will mail a notice of
re-employment opportunity to the displaced employee at his or her last reported
address as shown on the official university records via certified mail, return
receipt requested. The displaced employee must respond to the notice
within 10 calendar days of the date on the notice or will be deemed to have
forfeited all rights to remain on the re-employment list. It is the
obligation of the employee to ensure that the university address records are
If, within the six-month period following termination, a displaced employee
is offered other employment with the university in a position for which the
employee is qualified and such offer is refused, the employee will be deemed to
have relinquished further rights to remain on the re-employment list, unless
his/her former position becomes available.
An employee who is terminated because of reduction in force and who is
re-employed by any State of Texas agency or institution of higher education within
12 months shall have his or her sick leave balance restored. Also,
regardless of the time lapse, upon re-employment, an employee will receive
credit for prior state service in longevity and vacation calculations.
An employee who is terminated because of reduction in force and who is
recalled to work in the same position within six months is not subject to an
additional probationary period. Under any other conditions, the employee
returning to employment following a break in service is subject to the
probationary periods outlined in UHV
Any employee affected by a reduction in force may appeal the decision if he
or she believes that the reason for the reduction action was not related to a
legitimate reduction in force factor (as described in the definition of
"reduction in force" above) or that the procedures were improperly
applied. The employee may not challenge the nature of the reduction
measures taken when evidence can be presented that a reduction is necessary, but
must provide evidence that the reduction was based on a reason impermissible
under the laws, constitutions, or regulations of the United States, the State of
Texas, or the University of Houston System.
The appeal must be presented in writing to the Director, Human
Resources/Affirmative Action within
five working days of receipt of the written notice of the
reduction in force. Failure to comply with this requirement will be deemed
a waiver of the right to appeal.
The Director, Human Resources/Affirmative Action will review the request to appeal to determine that the appeal
is timely and in compliance with this policy. A request that meets the criteria
will be processed in accordance with Step 3 of UHV Policy C-21 - Employee
Grievances. A hearing panel will be appointed and the hearing will be conducted
in accordance with that university policy.
At least two working days prior to the hearing, the employee will be provided
with a copy of the reduction in force plan and all accompanying documentation.
The burden will be on the employee to show that the reduction action is not
related to a reduction in force factor or that the procedures were improperly
applied. No other issues will be heard or considered by the hearing panel.
The report of the hearing committee will be forwarded to the Director, Human
Resources/Affirmative Action , who will forward it to a cabinet-level supervisor
who is not in the employee’s appeal chain. In no case will the report be
forwarded to the cabinet-level supervisor over that employee’s division.
Within five working days from the receipt of the report of the hearing panel,
the cabinet-level supervisor will take action on the recommendation of the
panel. The cabinet-level supervisor may accept or reject the
recommendation of the panel, or may return the case to the panel with
instructions to conduct further deliberations or answer specific questions.
If the case requires further deliberation, the Director, Human
Resources/Affirmative Action will
establish new time schedules and communicate them to the members of the panel.
The cabinet-level supervisor will make a decision and forward it to the
Director, Human Resources/Affirmative Action, who will notify the employee and
the supervisor by mailing copies of the decision by certified mail.
If the appeal process is not completed by the employee’s last scheduled day
of work, the employee will be released on the effective date of the reduction in
force. If the appeal results in a decision favorable to the employee, the
employee will be reinstated with back wages, less the amount of any unemployment
compensation received from the Texas Workforce Commission. The Human
Resources Office will notify the Texas Workforce Commission promptly in writing
of the employee’s reinstatement.
Signature obtained 3/12/03 Dr. Karen S. Haynes Date President
Originating department: Human Resources New review date: March 2005
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