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Handbook of Operating Procedures
Chapter 3 - Staff
Publication Date: August 9, 2011
Responsible Executive: VP for Business Affairs


3.05 Reduction in Force for Classified Employees


POLICY STATEMENT


It is the policy of The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) to implement a reduction in force (RIF) when necessary because of financial exigency or a bona fide reorganization. This policy pertains to both a university-wide RIF and a RIF within a unit. 


RATIONALE


This policy provides guidelines and procedures for implementing a reduction in force that affects classified employees of UTSA.


SCOPE


All classified employees of The University of Texas at San Antonio.


WEBSITE ADDRESS FOR THIS POLICY


http://www.utsa.edu/hop/chapter3/3-5.html


RELATED STATUTES, POLICIES, REQUIREMENTS OR STANDARDS


UTSA or UT System Policies or the Board of Regents Rules & Regulations

Other Policies & Standards


CONTACTS


If you have any questions about HOP policy 3.05, Reduction in Force for Classified Employees, contact the following office:

Employee Relations or Employment
210-458-4648
hr@utsa.edu


DEFINITIONS


Affected Administrative Unit is an organizational unit that proposes to combine and/or eliminate functions and/or classified employee positions through a RIF.

Bona Fide Reorganization is a realignment of an organization to meet a specific business need(s) or goal(s). 

Financial Exigency is the expiration of a source of funds; cancellation or discontinuation of a project, program, grant, or activity that created the position; or a demonstrably bona fide financial crisis that adversely affects an administrative unit or the institution.

Head of the/an Affected Administrative Unit is the institution employee who directly supervises an affected administrative unit.


RESPONSIBILITIES


Vice President or Head of the Affected Administrative Unit

  • Prepares a report to document the need for the RIF.
  • Identifies the positions that will be affected.
  • Provides an analysis that explains why certain classified employees have been selected for termination as a result of the RIF.
  • Submits report and all pertinent documents to Human Resources (HR) for review.

Human Resources         

  • Supplies the affected administrative unit a template to create termination letters.
  • Reviews the report and termination letters from the affected administrative unit to ensure compliance with this policy.

President (or designee)

  • Reviews and approves the plan to reduce the work force based on a financial exigency or a bona fide reorganization.

Classified Employees

  • May appeal termination due to a RIF by using the appeal procedure outlined in section 5 of this policy.

PROCEDURES


  1. Planning Requirements
    1. Before a RIF is proposed, alternatives that may eliminate its need or limit its scope shall be considered by the appropriate vice president or head of the affected administrative unit. Such alternatives include, but are not limited to, job sharing, temporary leaves of absence without pay consistent with state law, attrition, pay freezes or pay cuts, demotions, and/or selective temporary freezes of vacant positions.
    2. The goal shall be to identify those functions and positions that can be altered or eliminated with least effect on the work force and necessary services of the affected administrative unit.
    3. The head of the affected administrative unit shall recommend to the appropriate vice president the functions or positions that should be combined or eliminated. In making that decision, existing business conditions, as well as future needs of the affected administrative unit and UTSA, may be considered.
    4. Decisions regarding reductions in force will abide by Texas Government Code 657.007, relating to preference given to veterans in instances of reduction in force. 
    5. Decisions regarding reductions in force will abide by Texas Government Code 672.004, relating to preference given to former foster children in instances of reduction in force. 
  2. Development of Report
    1. A report requesting a RIF prepared by the vice president or head of the affected administrative unit shall include supporting documentation and:
      1. provide factual information that shows the existence of a financial exigency or shows that a proposed reorganization will result in a more cost effective or efficient affected administrative unit;
      2. describe the functions or services supplied by the affected administrative unit that will be affected by the proposed RIF, how those functions or services will be combined, altered, or eliminated, and the rationale for the combination, alteration or elimination;
      3. explain why alternatives to a RIF are not feasible;
      4. identify jobs or positions that will be affected; and
      5. utilize the criteria in Section 3 of this policy to identify employees who will be terminated and explain how and why each person was selected for termination.
    2. Submission of Report:
      1. After the report is prepared, the vice president or head of the affected administrative unit shall submit it and its supporting documents to HR's Employee Relations Office.
      2. HR's Employee Relations Office shall review the report to ensure its compliance with this policy.
      3. HR's Employee Relations Office, along with the vice president or head of the affected administrative unit, shall consult with the Offic of Legal Affairs.
      4. The vice president shall submit the report to the president once Legal Affairs and Human Resources have determined that the report complies with this policy and applicable state and federal laws and regulations.
      5. After receiving the report, the president shall approve or disapprove the RIF.
  3. Terminations of Employment Due to Reduction in Force
    The vice president or head of the affected administrative unit seeking the reduction shall be responsible for deciding which employees will be terminated. The criteria and considerations used to select employees to be terminated shall include, but not be limited to:
    1. employee qualifications for the jobs remaining after the reduction;
    2. employee work performance, as evidenced by written evaluations or other documentation; in those cases where employees are equally qualified with equal performance rating, seniority will be the determining criterion;
    3. status as a full-time, regular employee will be given preference unless it is in the best interest of UTSA to employ part-time, temporary, or hourly employees for the available positions;
    4. to the extent possible, and if an affected employee's qualifications are compatible with the requirements of vacant positions within the respective vice president’s area, employees may be transferred if doing so will serve the best interests of UTSA;
    5. decisions regarding a RIF shall abide by Texas Government Code § 657.007, relating to preference given to veterans in instances of reduction in force. 
    6. decisions regarding a RIF shall abide by Texas Government Code § 672.004, relating to preference given to former foster children in instances of reduction in force.
  4. Notice to Employee
    1. Employees who will be terminated shall be provided as much advance written notice as possible to avoid personal hardship. To the extent possible, notice shall be given at least 60 calendar days before the proposed date of termination.
    2. The written notice of termination shall explain the reasons for the RIF and explain why the employee's position will be eliminated or why the employee was selected for terminations.
  5. Appeal Procedures
    1. An employee who will be terminated through a RIF may appeal that decision to the head of the affected administrative unit no later than ten (10) work days after receiving notice of termination. The appeal shall be limited to claims that a financial exigency does not exist, that the reorganization was not bona fide, that a comparison of the employee's qualifications and performance with those of employees who were retained shows that the selection of the employee was arbitrary and without reason, or that the termination decision was made for reasons that violate state or federal laws.
    2. The appeal shall be in writing and shall state all pertinent facts, and the head of the affected administrative unit shall respond to the appeal no later than ten (10) work days after receiving it.
    3. If the employee is not satisfied with the response, he or she may submit a written appeal no later than five (5) work days after receiving the response.  The appeal shall be submitted to the appropriate vice president (or equivalent officer), and shall state why the response is incorrect. The vice president (or equivalent officer) shall review the appeal and response and render a decision no later than thirty (30) calendar days after receiving the appeal. The vice president’s decision shall be written, shall be mailed to the employee by registered or certified mail and shall be final.
    4. An employee who believes he or she did not receive a veteran’s employment preference for his or her retention as a result of a RIF may utilize the Veteran’s Employment Preference Complaint Procedure outlined in Handbook of Operating Procedures Policy 9.01, Nondiscrimination and Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct, section VII.
    5. An employee who believes he or she did not receive former foster child preference for his or her retention as a result of a RIF may utilize the complaint procedures outlined in Texas Government Code § 672.004.
  6. Reemployment Procedures
    1. Employees terminated because of a RIF should contact HR for information on how to apply for open positions. It shall be the responsibility of each former employee to apply for any position for which he or she qualifies.
    2. If requested to do so by a former employee terminated because of a RIF, HR will provide assistance in creating or updating information in the application system.
    3. For up to sixty (60) days after an employee’s termination because of a RIF, a hiring department that has a vacant position may give preference in hiring to the employee, without interviewing other candidates who may qualify for the vacancy. 
    4. A former employee terminated because of a RIF must notify HR by email (hr@utsa.edu) once he or she has applied for a position.  After receiving this notice, Human Resources shall contact the hiring manager to notify him or her that the employee has applied for a position.  The hiring department shall decide if it wishes to hire the former employee for the open position, or if it will have the individual compete for the position with other candidates. 
  7. Nondiscrimination in Termination and Reemployment
    All termination and reemployment decisions pursuant to this policy shall be made without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, veteran status, disability, or sexual orientation of the employee. As part of the review process before initiating a RIF, Equal Opportunity Services shall assess the effects of the proposed terminations and/or reassignments on the employment of women, minorities and persons with disabilities by UTSA.