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Handbook of Operating Procedures

Reductions in Force

Policy Number: 52


Reductions in Force


Benefits-eligible classified employees, with the exception of employees who are funded at least 50% by contracts and/or grants

Date Reviewed:
July 2020
Responsible Office:
Human Resources
Responsible Executive:
Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer


The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (“University”) attempts to provide a stable work environment for its employees; however, circumstances may occasionally arise that will necessitate making reductions to the work force. This policy applies to all benefits-eligible classified employees, with the exception of employees who are funded at least 50% by contracts and/or grants. Employees who are funded at least 50% by contracts and/or grants are subject to termination upon the earliest of the following:

  1. expiration of the source of funds; or,
  2. cancellation or discontinuation of the project, program or activity which created the position.

Employees in the above category will be given as much advance notice as possible. All other employees will be given notice as outlined below.

A reduction in force situation may be created when, for example, an organizational unit is compelled to merge, reassign or discontinue one or more of its service functions or other essential business activities; when an organizational unit must reorganize the operations of the service function or business activities; or when an organizational entity must be closed.

Should such conditions occur, the management of the affected unit will implement specific evaluative procedures in conjunction with Human Resources (HR) to ensure equitable treatment of the classified employees involved.

The University will consider a classified employee who becomes separated as a result of a reduction in force or organizational closure for re-employment at another job providing the individual is qualified and indicates interest and availability. When a position is eliminated due to a reduction in force and the same position becomes available in the same department within six months from the date of reduction in force, the affected person will be offered the position.

When a classified employee is separated due to a formal reduction in force, the former employee's remaining sick leave balance may be restored if the employee resumes state employment within 12 months after the end of the month of separation. (Refer to HOOP Policy 30 Sick Leave.)

All decisions under this policy shall be made without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, gender identity or expression, veteran status, or any other basis prohibited by law or University policy. See HOOP 183 Nondiscrimination, Anti-Harassment and Equal Opportunity.


A.  Reductions in Force Determinations

The appropriate manager will contact HR to request assistance in preparing for the reduction in force. The manager will rank the classified employees in the affected unit according to specific evaluation procedures. The evaluative criteria may include, but are not limited to, factors such as allocation of resources, operational requirements, and business necessities. The profile of the unit will be reviewed by the Chief Human Resources Officer or designee. If the reduction in force results from a loss of funding (such as a contract or a grant) or organizational closure and all classified employees in a particular unit or program must be separated, ranking will not be required.

B. Notice

All affected personnel, including those who are paid from funding sources other than the state, will be given advance notice of the reduction in force. Where length of notice is indicated in this policy, "day one" will be the next working day.  The length of the notice period will be determined by the length of a classified employee's service with the state, except for employees who are funded at least 50% by contracts and/or grants, as noted above. Notice will be given according to the following schedule:

Length of Service Notice
0 but less than 60 months 10 working days
60 but less than 120 months 15 working days
120 but less than 180 months 20 working days
180 but less than 240 months 25 working days
240 months and over 30 working days

The head of the affected department, in consultation with the appropriate dean or senior administrator, will forward a memorandum prior to the desired date of the reduction in force to the Chief Human Resources Officer.  The memo will include an explanation of the reduction in force, the evaluative criteria used to rank, the names and titles of those affected, the date on which it is anticipated the notice of reduction will occur, and the last day to be worked (termination date). 

After review and approval by the Chief Human Resources Officer or designee, the department will be notified. The appropriate HR representative will coordinate the reduction in force action with the department.

C. Grievance Procedure for Classified Employees Terminated Due to Reduction in Force

A classified employee who receives a notice of separation due to a reduction in force may file a grievance within seven calendar days of receipt of the written notification. Due to the time sensitive nature of a reduction in force, the grievance will begin at the level of the dean or the senior management staff member in University administration and proceed as provided in HOOP Policy 146 Employee Grievances

  • The grievance must be limited to claims a financial exigency does not exist; the reorganization was not bona fide; a comparison of the employee's qualifications with those of employees who were retained shows the selection of the employee was arbitrary and without reason; or the separation decision was made for reasons that are unlawful under state or federal laws or constitution.
  • The grievance must be in writing and state the facts supporting the employee's concerns.
  • If the grievance process extends beyond the length of the notice period for the affected employee, the grievance process may continue until all levels of appeal are exhausted. Extension of the grievance process, however, will not delay or change the date of scheduled separation.
  • If the reduction in force grievance is substantiated, the employee will be reinstated to his or her position and be entitled to payment of wages lost as a result of the reduction in force (less any unemployment compensation received by the employee after the reduction in force). Employee benefits such as vacation and sick leave will be credited back to the date of the reduction in force.

If the grievance concerns the application of the veteran’s employment preference or the employment preference granted to individuals twenty five years or younger who were under the permanent managing conservatorship of the Department of Family and Protective Services on the day preceding the individual's 18th birthday, the grievance will be filed with the President through the Office of University Relations & Equal Opportunity. The President will respond within 15 business days of receipt of the complaint.


    • Human Resources
    • 713-500-3130