UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls
Notwithstanding § 36.15 (3), Wisconsin Statutes, and UWS 10 and UWS 11, the Chancellor of each institution or designee may lay off a member of the academic staff holding either a fixed term or a probationary appointment prior to the end of the appointment period, when such action is deemed necessary due to budget or program decisions requiring program discontinuance, curtailment, modification, or re-direction. Decisions made pursuant to a change in the level of resources available for a particular project or for program discontinuance, curtailment, modification, or redirection shall be discussed by the Chancellor or designee with the Academic Staff Council. Non-renewal of a probationary academic staff appointment under UWRF 7 (6.7 of this chapter) or a fixed term appointment, even if for financial reasons, is not a layoff for reasons of program or budget. Seniority shall be determined by the total years of academic staff service to the institution, without regard to title.
For the purpose of this chapter, "layoff" is the suspension of an academic staff member's employment by the University during the appointment period for reasons of budget or program. A laid-off academic staff member retains the rights specified in UWRF 6.10.7 through UWRF 6.10.9, inclusive. For the purposes of § 36.21, Wisconsin Statues, termination occurs at the time of layoff.
The operational area will, after consideration of (a) the budget or program situation, (b) the seniority of academic staff members, and (c) the need to maintain specific expertise within the operational area, recommend to the Dean or division head and Chancellor the order in which academic staff members should be laid off. Notice periods specified in Section 6.3.4 should be used, unless there are compelling reasons to the contrary (e.g., almost immediate cutoff of funds) for layoff of probationary and fixed term appointments under this chapter. Indefinite appointees shall have twelve (12) months' notice of layoff for reasons of budget or program, unless there are compelling reasons to the contrary.
Review procedures as described in this section apply to fixed term and probationary academic staff members who are laid off prior to the completion of their appointments and to academic staff members holding indefinite appointments. The authority of the hearing body is outlined in UWS 12.
A. An academic staff member whose position is to be eliminated shall be notified in writing and shall, upon request made within twenty (20) days after such notification, be given a written statement of the reasons for the decision within fifteen (15) days, including a statement of the reasons for the determination that the budgetary or program needs should be met by curtailing or discontinuing the program in which the individual concerned works. If the academic staff member requests, in writing, within twenty (20) days after receipt of said statement, he or she shall be entitled to a hearing before the Academic Staff Council (also referred to as "Council"). However, such a request for a hearing shall not forestall a layoff under this section.
B. The academic staff member shall have access to the evidence on which the administration intends to rely to support the decision to lay off and shall be guaranteed the following minimal procedural safeguards at the hearing:
C. The following requirements shall be observed by the Academic Staff Council when serving in the capacity as the hearing body for the layoff of academic staff for reasons of budget or program:
D. The first question to be considered in the review is whether one or more of the following factors improperly entered into the decision to lay off:
a. the procedures required by the Chancellor or Board of Regents were not followed;
b. available data bearing materially on the quality of the staff member's actual or potential performance were not considered; or
c. unfounded, arbitrary, or irrelevant assumptions of fact were made about work or conduct.
E. The staff member shall present evidence on whether one or more of the factors specified above improperly entered into the decision to lay off. The Academic Staff Council shall then consider whether the evidence presented established a prima facie case that such factor or factors did enter significantly into the layoff decision. If the Academic Staff Council finds that a prima facie case has not been established, the layoff decision shall be found to have been proper and the hearing shall be ended.
F. If the Academic Staff Council finds that a prima facie case has been established, the appropriate administrative officer for the operational area shall be entitled to present evidence to support the layoff decision and, thereafter, the staff member may present evidence in rebuttal. Thereafter, on the basis of all the evidence presented, the Academic Staff Council shall make determinations as follows:
G. In determining whether a bona fide budgetary or program reason existed for layoff of the appointment of the academic staff member concerned, the Council shall presume that the decision to curtail the program was made in good faith and for proper reasons. The Council shall not substitute its judgment on priorities for that of the administration.
H. If the Council finds that the layoff was improper, it shall report this decision and its recommendation to the Chancellor and to the academic staff member involved. The Chancellor shall review the matter, decide whether the staff member should be laid off, and notify the Council and academic staff member of the decision. This decision shall be deemed final unless the Board of Regents, upon request of the academic staff member, grants review based on the record.
An academic staff member whose position has been eliminated according to the provisions of this chapter may, at the end of the appropriate notice period, be placed on layoff status unless the layoff notice has been rescinded prior to that time. The academic staff member whose notice period has expired and who is placed on layoff status shall remain on layoff status until:
A. For fixed term and probationary appointees, one of the following occurs:
B. For academic staff on indefinite appointment, one of the following occurs:
The Chancellor, Dean, or division head shall consider laid-off staff for other vacancies within UW-River Falls for which they meet the necessary qualifications. To the extent possible, laid-off staff members should be notified of appropriate openings anywhere in the University of Wisconsin System.
UW-River Falls will seek to provide financial assistance to academic staff members who are to be laid off to readapt within the operational area or within another operational area of the institution where such re-adaptation is feasible within one year's time. To the extent possible, laid-off staff members should be notified of appropriate openings anywhere in the University of Wisconsin System.
Within three (3) years of the layoff of an academic staff member under this section, no person may be employed in the operational area to perform reasonably comparable duties unless the institution first offers the laid-off staff member reappointment without loss of rights or status, provided that the laid-off staff member has notified the Chancellor or designee by December 1 of each year as to his or her location, employment status, and desire to pursue reappointment rights. Failure to provide such notification shall terminate the academic staff member's reappointment rights under this section.
Any academic staff member reappointed within three (3) years of layoff to reasonably comparable duties within the operational area shall be reappointed with a salary rate at least equivalent to his or her salary rate when laid off, together with such other rights and privileges which may have accrued at the time.
An academic staff member on layoff status under provisions of this chapter has the reemployment rights guaranteed by Sections 6.10.7 and 6.10.8 and has the following minimal rights:
A. such voluntary participation in fringe benefit programs as may be permitted under existing policies;
B. use of institutional facilities available to other academic staff members under guidelines established by each operational area. Such use of facilities may include, but shall not be limited to, office, parking, and library privileges; and
C. such participation in the activities of the operational area as permitted under policies of that unit.