Postdoctoral Studies

Termination Policy


1.  When a postdoctoral researcher’s appointment is to be terminated, the PI will take the following steps:

  • notify the postdoctoral researcher at least two months in advance of the termination date;
  • provide the notification to the postdoctoral researcher both verbally and in written form; 
  • hand deliver the written notice to the postdoctoral researcher;
  • continue to pay the postdoctoral researcher’s full stipend during the written notice period; and
  • implement the notification in accordance with the steps outlined below.

It should be noted that the requirement of two months' notice prior to termination defines the minimal acceptable notice. Principal investigators are urged to give postdoctoral researchers as much notice as possible, to facilitate the postdoctoral researcher’s finding a new position.

All written communications between the PI and the postdoctoral researcher regarding any potential or actual termination will be provided by the PI to the departmental administrator, who will then forward copies to the following: 

  • Belfer Institute office; and
  • office of academic appointments / International students and scholars office.

2.  Reasons for termination of a postdoctoral appointment include, but are not limited to, the following:

a. Completion of the postdoctoral appointment in accordance with the letter from the director of the Belfer Institute:   

A postdoctoral researcher’s appointment will end on the date indicated in the appointment or reappointment letter from the director of the Belfer Institute unless it is renewed at the request of the PI. The PI will provide written notice to the postdoctoral researcher at least two months in advance of the end date that the appointment will not be renewed.

b. Termination of the postdoctoral appointment before the end of the appointment letter from the director of the Belfer Institute, due to the expiration/termination of funding: 

A postdoctoral researcher who will be terminated due to lack of funding (expiration of grant or other financial support) will be notified in writing at least two months in advance by his or her PI, referencing the expiration date of the funding and the termination date of the postdoctoral appointment. Prior to this time, in cases where future funding for a postdoctoral researcher is uncertain due to a pending grant application, the PI should advise the postdoctoral researcher of the possibility of termination due to the lack of funding and the approximate date when approval or rejection of the grant is expected.

c. Termination of the postdoctoral appointment before the end of the appointment letter from the director of the Belfer Institute due to performance of the postdoctoral researcher: 

If a PI is not satisfied with the performance of a postdoctoral researcher, the PI should routinely discuss with the postdoctoral researcher issues of concern and ways to improve performance. In the event that these discussions do not result in sufficient improvement, the PI may take steps to terminate the postdoctoral appointment as follows:

i.         Failure to discharge research responsibilities: A postdoctoral researcher may be terminated for failure to perform agreed upon-research as summarized in the PI’s signed letter of offer and the postdoctoral researcher’s signed acceptance. The definition of a postdoctoral researcher’s failure to perform might include, but is not limited to, his or her lack of the technical skills needed to perform the research, poor attendance/reliability or poor quality of work (such as presentation of inaccurate or incomplete data, not meeting agreed upon-standards and/or not adhering to timelines). 

 ii.        Serious interpersonal conflict between the postdoctoral researcher and the PI and/or other members of the research team causing disruption to the research: Serious conflict that might disrupt a research project may include, but is not limited to, lack of communication between the postdoctoral researcher and the PI, resistance on the part of the postdoctoral researcher to authority, lack of teamwork with other members of the research team, poor interpersonal relationships/communication with other members of the team and/or disruptive behavior.

Under these circumstances, the PI will initiate a private discussion with the postdoctoral researcher, detailing the problems or issues, stating his or her expectations and how they are not being met and warning him or her of possible termination.  Such a discussion will include suggestions as to how these matters might be resolved and plans to improve the postdoctoral researcher’s performance. A time period of two months should be fair and reasonable for resolution. This time period will serve as two months' notice of termination if postdoctoral performance does not improve. At least one "progress" meeting will take place within one month following the initial discussion to reevaluate the postdoctoral researcher’s performance. 

 All verbal discussions will be followed up with a letter to the postdoctoral researcher detailing the discussed deficiencies, the suggested improvement plan and the allowable time period (not less than two months) prior to termination.  

 d. Under a limited number of circumstances, postdoctoral researchers may be terminated under different advance notice and pay guidelines.  These may include the following circumstances, which will be discussed with the director of the Belfer Institute and/or the office of the executive dean:

 i.         Lack of adherence to medical school policies and procedures: Einstein policies and procedures can be found here. Termination due to lack of adherence to these policies is subject to the terms of the individual policies and will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

 ii.        Criminal behavior or activities: In the case of illegal or criminal activity on the part of a postdoctoral researcher, termination will be handled on a case-by-case basis, and immediate dismissal may be warranted.

 3.  Upon termination of a postdoctoral researcher, the departmental administrator will create a termination PSF and route it to the following offices, in the order outlined below:

  • Office of academic appointments
  • Belfer Institute office
  • Budget office

If a termination PSF has not already been processed, the departmental administrator will advise payroll in writing or by e-mail at least one week ahead of a postdoctoral researcher’s termination date.



Rev. 5/22/08


Click here to log in