Return to on-site work

Vaccine mandate dismissal procedures and considerations for campus

Updated October 22, 2021

Campus staff, student employees, and contract covered academic personnel who are unable to provide proof of being fully vaccinated per Governor Inslee’s proclamation 21-14.2 will be dismissed from University of Washington employment on October 18, 2021, unless they are approved for a medical or religious exemption or fall under one of the exception circumstances. Employees on campus will receive pre-dismissal notice on October 12 and on October 18 dismissal letters will be sent to employees who remain non-compliant; managers will receive copies of each letter and a report will be provided for HR partners.

Dismissal timeline for campus
  • October 11, 5pm – Deadline for vaccine verification in Workday.
  • October 12 – Pre-dismissal notices emailed to staff and student employees who have yet to be verified, are not in process of receiving a vaccination and for whom there is no approved or pending exemption request. Managers (as listed in Workday) will be copied on the pre-dismissal notice email. HR Partners will receive a copy of the template pre-dismissal notice email and an org level report of all employees who received it.
  • October 15 – 17 – UWHR will prepare dismissal emails and letters and finalize the list of employees who will receive them. Unit leaders will receive a list of who will receive dismissal notices in their organization.
  • October 18 – Dismissal letters will be emailed to non-compliant staff and student employees copying their manager. A hard copy of the notice will also be sent to the employee by mail to their home address as listed in Workday. HR Partners will receive an org level report of dismissals and a copy of the dismissal letter template.
  • October 22 –  UWHR will work with the ISC to load terminations into Workday with the effective date of October 18, 2021.

Departments who have questions about a centrally-loaded termination should contact their Human Resources Consultant.

Separation procedures for campus

Proceed with typical offboarding

While some elements of vaccine mandate related dismissals will be unique, many aspects of regular offboarding procedures apply.

Special offboarding considerations

Dismissals associated with the vaccine mandate raise special considerations.

  • Plan ahead: Given the compressed timeline, greater attention should be given between 10/12 and 10/18 to any offboarding tasks that can be completed in advance such as timesheet and time off entry, setting expectations for the return of equipment, and identifying projects and materials to hand-off to other staff.
  • Assess service impacts: While the vaccine mandate’s impact to staffing is not yet entirely known, departments should identify potential impacts to students, client or customers, and other staff.
    • Do your best to anticipate potential service impacts, and plan to communicate new expectations for service delivery.
    • If job duties need to be moved, reprioritized, or reassigned to others, be mindful not to overburden employees who are taking on additional or re-assigned work. To ensure compliance with relevant employment law and UW policy, if moving, reprioritizing, or reassigning job duties:
      • Review Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) considerations for movement of job duties for potential impacts when reassigning duties of overtime eligible positions to other overtime eligible employees or duties of overtime exempt positions to other overtime exempt employees. Questions about this should be directed to uwhrcomp@uw.edu for campus staff and medcomp@uw.edu for medical centers staff.
      • Ensure changing job duties does not result in “skimming,” a prohibited practice that occurs when an employer assigns bargaining unit work to a non-bargaining unit employee or to employees in a different bargaining unit. Contact your HR consultant with questions.
      • Consider compensation adjustments for employees taking on substantially more work, such as temporary pay increases for professional staff employees or temporary salary increases for classified staff.
    • Equipment return: University-owned equipment provided to employees must be returned as required by a telework agreement or collective bargaining agreement.
    • Data and file management: Ensure you are following appropriate records maintenance, including moving data/records to shared devices, folders, or files.
    • Acknowledge employee contributions: Keep in mind that many dismissed employees may have had many years of positive contributions to the UW. The immediate cause of their separation from the University hopefully does not cloud either these contributions or the time you shared with them as colleagues. Dismissal based on non-compliance with the proclamation is a non-disciplinary separation. Separated employees are eligible for UW reemployment upon becoming fully vaccinated.
    • Safety and well-being: Be aware of the resources available through UW CareLink that can help you and your teams navigate the added stress of implementing the vaccine mandate. As always, contact your HR consultant if you have concerns regarding concerning behaviors or safety related to offboarding employees.
    • Systems access: If computing systems access needs to be turned off urgently, the employee’s supervisor can email aareq@uw.edu identifying themselves as the supervisor of the employee; include the employee’s name and UWNetID and the requested end date/time.
    • Unemployment compensation: Terminated employees may not qualify for unemployment compensation. When an employee’s separation is the result of failure to comply with an employer’s requirement to become vaccinated, the Employment Security Department (ESD) will examine a number of factors such as whether the employee is otherwise eligible for benefits, the specific terms of the vaccine policy, including allowable exemptions, and the reason why the employee did not comply with the vaccine requirement.

If the employee does not qualify for a medical or religious accommodation and does not comply with the vaccine requirement, a claim would likely be denied. However, some individuals may still qualify based on their own unique circumstances. ESD will evaluate each case on its own merit.