Postdoc appointments may be terminated prior to the agreed-upon end date for one of two reasons: 1) poor performance or 2) a loss of funding to the faculty mentor. Each case is handled differently, as described below.
- Poor performance: Poor performance may be exhibited by lack of attendance in the lab/office for extended periods of time and without adequate explanation; repeated failure to abide by university lab safety procedures; inability to perform even basic experimental techniques that someone with similar training would be expected to do; and related concerns about scientific competence. The faculty mentor should first try to resolve these issues informally through discussion with the postdoc and should also document these attempts. If no progress is made, the the faculty advisor should draft a letter to the appointee placing him/her on a one month probationary period. The letter should state the expectations that must be met in order to continue the appointment and that failure to meet these expectations will result in termination at the end of the 1 month period. A copy of this letter should be provided to Postdoctoral Affairs.
- Loss of funding: A postdoc in his/her first year of appointment in a lab may not be terminated for financial reasons. The faculty mentor, by making the initial one year offer to the appointee and by signing the appointment letter, has assented to retaining the postdoc for the duration of that offer. If unforeseen circumstances lead to the loss of the original funding source, the faculty mentor and department will need to find alternative funding to support the postdoc.
Postdoc appointments beyond the initial year of appointment in a lab/department may be terminated if the source of funding is lost. In this instance, the faculty mentor should provide the postdoc with at least 3 months written notice.