07-01.22 – Separation for Regular Exempt Staff Employees

  1. Policy Statement: 

    Towson University (the “University”) has established implementing procedures pursuant to the USM Policy VII-1.22, Policy on Separation of Regular Exempt Staff Employees, regarding the separation of Regular Exempt employees.1

    [1] Sections V.B.1 and V.E. of this policy do not apply to exempt employees who are represented by an exclusive representative under the collective bargaining law, Title 3 of the State Personnel & Pensions Article of the Maryland Code. Employees represented accordingly may be terminated only for cause.

  2. Definitions:

    1. At Will Employment: Employment status which permits the employee or the University to terminate the employment relationship at any time, for any reason at either party’s discretion, subject to applicable laws, policies, and in accordance with the provisions set forth herein.
    2. Involuntary Separation: The employer’s decision to remove employee from employment, except for a layoff covered under applicable policy. This shall include but may not be limited to termination with a period of notice or termination for cause. Involuntary separation and termination are used interchangeably in this Policy.
    3. Period of Notice: The length of time required to be provided an employee in advance of final involuntary separation with notice. An employee terminated with notice will continue working or receive compensation in lieu of notice based on years of service. Periods of notice begin to run at the time the University notifies an employee of the notice termination action.
    4. Termination for Cause: The dismissal of an employee for a reason enumerated by USM or University separation policy.
  3. Responsible Executive and Office:

    Responsible Executive:
    Chief Human Resources Officer and Vice President of Operations

    Responsible Office:
    Office of Human Resources (“OHR”)

  4. Entities Affected by this Policy:

    All divisions, colleges, departments and operating units.

  5. Procedures:

    1. Applicability

      This policy applies to all Regular Exempt Staff Employees except those  key executive positions excluded by USM Policy VII-1.22, Policy on Separation for Regular Exempt Staff Employees, Section I, B and any additional positions excluded by the President of the University and approved by the Chancellor of USM. The OHR shall notify, in writing, any employee excluded from this policy.

    2. General

      1. Regular Exempt Employees at the University are employed on an at-will basis. 

      2. The Separation Policy for Exempt Employees does not apply when an Exempt Employee is laid off.  Layoffs will be in accordance with USM Policy VII-1.32, Policy on Layoff and Recall of Regular Exempt Staff Employees.

      3. The provisions for probation and rejection on probation are covered under USM Policy VII-1.21, Policy on Probation for Regular Nonexempt and Exempt Staff Employees.

      4. Under circumstances it deems appropriate, the University maintains discretion to permit resignation in lieu of involuntary separation and/or to order compensation be paid in lieu of serving an applicable period of notice. Such action shall be taken in accordance with this policy, USM policy, and following review by the appropriate University administrators.
    3. Voluntary Separation

      1. An exempt employee who wishes to end his or her employment with the University should give at least fourteen (14) calendar days notice, provided in writing to the appropriate supervisor. Where possible, at least 30 days notice of resignation is preferred for exempt employees.

      2. Upon notification, the Supervisor must complete the Staff Separation Form and attach a copy of the requisite letter of resignation or retirement from the employee. The form and attached letter shall be promptly sent to the OHR to be processed and recorded.

    4. Involuntary Separation

      1. A Supervisor who is contemplating the involuntary separation of a Regular Exempt Employee shall contact the appropriate divisional Vice President or their desginee as well as the Human Resources Partner prior to any action to terminate the employee.

      2. Upon review and provided the OHR is in support of the action, the Supervisor shall complete a Staff Separation Form and attach a copy of the termination notice from the University or the resignation/retirement letter (if applicable). Requisite forms and documentation shall be sent to the OHR to be processed and recorded.

      3. Notice of termination removal shall be signed by the Vice President for the respective division, or their designee, with a copy to the Chief Human Resources Officer, pursuant to either Section V.E or V.F of this policy, as applicable.

      4. The President of designee has the discretion to permit, but not require, any employee to resign in lieu of involuntary separation, and the employee generally should be required to execute an appropriate release of certain legal claims.
        1. The President or designee may determine an appropriate period of notice to be provided that serves the best interests of the University. The length of the period of notice is not required to conform to the schedule in Section V.E.1 of this policy.

    5. Period of Notice for Involuntary Separation

      1. An Employee involuntarily separated who is 'at-will' shall be provided with a defined period of notice. Length of notice owed is based on service at the University rather than total USM service and shall include any prior qualifying University service provided there were no breaks in service longer than three (3) years.

        1. An Exempt Employee at one USM institution who is offered an exempt position at the University may, at the discretion of the offering institution, be credited with qualifying service from the prior institution for purposes of calculating the required period of notice upon separation. Any such decision to credit prior service at another USM institution shall be noted in the employee’s personnel file at the time of appointment and shall become effective provided there is satisfactory completion of the probation period.

      2. Length of any applicable period of notice shall be assessed as follows:


        Years of ToWson University Service Period of Notice
        Less than one year One month
        One year but less than four years Three months
        Four years but less than seven years Six months
        Seven years but less than ten years Nine months
        Ten years or more Twelve months
      3. During the period of notice, the President or Vice President for the respective area, may:

        1. Continue the employee in their regular position; or 
        2. Assign the employee alternate duties and responsibilities at a level of service of at least 25% of their existing average workload over the past thirty-six (36) months.
      4. Compensation in Lieu of Notice. The President or designee may determine the employee, including those permitted to resign in lieu of involuntary separation, should be separated in lieu of providing an applicable period of notice, or prior to the end of the notice period.  In that case, the employee shall receive compensation for the loss of salary and benefits that the employee otherwise would have received during the notice period. In consultation with the Office of the Attorney General, the University will develop an appropriate compensation arrangement for the employee, which complies with applicable laws.

      5. Failure to provide notice as set forth in section V.E., Period of Notice for Involuntary Separation, may be appealed in accordance with TU Policy 07-08.05, Policy on Grievances and Special Action Appeals for Regular Exempt Employees, except in situations where the employee has resigned in lieu of termination.
    6. Termination for Cause

      With the approval of the President of appropriate designee, Section V.E. above (period of notice) does not apply if the employee is to be terminated for cause, including without limitation, for any of the following reasons:

      1. moral turpitude, 

      2. incompetency or inefficiency in the performance of the employee’s duties, including documented failure to meet performance expectations, 

      3. willful neglect of duty or abandonment of job, 

      4. illegal actions,

      5. gross misconduct or wantonly offensive behavior toward fellow employees, students, patients, clients, users of University facilities, or the general public, 

      6. professional or scholarly misconduct, 

      7. insubordination or serious breach of discipline, 

      8. serious breach of professional behavior that may reasonably be expected to result in lower organizational morale, or loss or injury to the University or the public,

      9. severe safety violations, including but not limited to actions that cause significant damage to public property or waste of public resources, 

      10. failure to accept reassignment, or 

      11. medical condition causing inability to perform essential job duties with or without reasonable accommodations required by law. 

        Termination for cause may be appealed in accordance with TU Policy 07-08.05, only by reason of procedural deficiency or violation of law.

Related Policies: 

USM Policy VII-1.21, Policy on Probation for Regular Nonexempt and Exempt Staff Employees

USM Policy VII-1.22 – Policy on Separation for Regular Exempt Employees

USM Policy VII-1.32, Policy on Layoff and Recall of Regular Exempt Staff Employees

USM Policy VII-8.00, Policy on Grievances for Nonexempt and Exempt Staff Employees

TU Policy 07-08.05 – Policy on Grievances and Special Action Appeals for Regular Exempt Employees

Effective Date:  06/07/2004 

Amended Date:  04/01/2020, 08/16/2023 

Approved By: President’s Cabinet

Signed By: President’s Cabinet

How to Request the Policy PDF

This online version of the policy may include updated links and names of departments. To request a PDF of the original, signed version of this policy, email the Office of the General Counsel, .