Termination Checklist


Foothills Unitarian Church values the hard work of our staff, and we seek to promote an employment environment where all employees are given fair and equal consideration in all matters concerning their employment. It is expected that the leadership team making personnel recommendations, including those relating to disciplinary measures or termination of employment, will keep those principles in mind.


All positions at Foothills Unitarian Church are “at-will.” The term “at-will” refers to a specific type of employment status. Simply stated, “at-will” employment is subject to termination by either party at any time with or without cause. However, “at-will” employees obviously still enjoy constitutional rights, including due process rights, in appropriate circumstances.

It is the policy of Foothills Unitarian Church that the senior minister and administrator review and approve any recommendations for termination of “at-will” employees on any grounds, including for disciplinary or budgetary reasons.  Additionally, our policy generally provides “at-will” employees the opportunity to meet with appropriate supervisors and/or administrators to discuss their termination prior to implementation.

BOARD delegated authority here?

Further, the termination of “at-will” employees, or any disciplinary measure, cannot occur for any reason that is contrary to applicable federal, state, or local laws.

Disciplinary Action and Termination At-Will-Employees

Under Colorado law, all staff at Foothills Unitarian Church serve on an “at will” basis. Generally, this means that they can be terminated at any time for any reason or for no reason. However, such terminations cannot be contrary to applicable federal, state or local law. Similarly, while at-will employees may be disciplined for performance or behavior reasons, such discipline cannot be contrary to applicable federal, state, or local law. The following process is intended to insure that disciplinary actions and terminations of at-will employees do not run afoul of such laws. The Board of Governors has delegated its authority to terminate most “at will” employees to the senior minister. Thus, the senior minister is the only person with the authority to terminate most “at will” employees, and they may delegate that authority to others within the leadership team as appropriate.

In view of the foregoing requirements, the following steps and considerations should be observed by Foothills Unitarian proposing disciplinary actions or terminations of at-will employees. To be clear, the Church reserves the right to administer discipline in such a manner as it deems appropriate to the circumstances, and may, in its sole discretion, bypass any or all of the steps in the discipline process.

To assure fairness to the employee before any disciplinary action or recommendation of termination occurs, the administrator should then do the following:

  1. A verbal warning will be issued.  A verbal warning is a notice to an employee that his/her conduct or performance is unacceptable, and that repeated or continued failure to conform his/her conduct or performance to Church standards will result in more severe disciplinary action.  A record of this verbal notice should be reported to the Administrator and kept in the personnel folder for the staff member.
  2. If corrective action is not productive following a verbal warning, the Church will provide the employee with written notice that a recommendation of disciplinary action or termination may occur. This notice should state that the administrator is considering making a recommendation that the employee be disciplined or terminated, including the reasons, if any, for such proposed actions and a brief description of the factors supporting those reasons. The notice should also advise the employee that he/she will be given an opportunity to explain his/her position by scheduling a “face to face” meeting with the appropriate supervisors, administrators, or ministers. The notice will describe the unacceptable conduct or performance of the employee and specify needed changes or improvements. The written notice may also initiate a Performance Improvement Plan (PIP).  The written notice will also ask for a formal meeting with supervisor, administrator, or ministerial staff (as appropriate) to discuss these issues.
  3. The meeting should then be held at the stated time or at a time mutually agreed upon by the employee and the administrator. The administrator should allow the employee an opportunity to respond to the specific allegations contained in the letter or notice. It is recommended that another person in a position of authority be present to avoid disputes over what was said at the meeting.
  4. Following the meeting, the administrator should prepare a memorandum documenting the issues and observations discussed at the meeting. It is important not to conduct the meeting as a prelude to implementing a decision that already has been made, but to remain open to consider the employee’s information and postpone a decision until after such consideration.
  5. After the meeting, the administrator should decide whether to recommend that the employee be disciplined or terminated.  
    1. If the administrator determines that termination is warranted, the recommendation should be forwarded to the senior minister.
    2. If the administrator determines that less severe disciplinary action is warranted, such a reprimand, minor change in duties, or additional training, the administrator may take such action and does not need to send a recommendation for such action through the chain of administrators.
  6. Once a recommendation for termination has reached the senior minister, he/she should decide whether the employee should be disciplined or terminated in accordance with the personnel powers that have been delegated to him/her by the Board of Governors. He/she should then advise the administrator of a decision.
  7. If termination occurs, the following procedures guide the separation activity:
    1. Provided employee with termination letter
    2. <<<<<<<<STEPS HERE>>>>>>>>

Resignation procedures (voluntary separation)

___ Received employee resignation letter. (If verbal resignation, provided employee with a written confirmation of resignation, retained copy).

___ Scheduled exit interview.             ___ Completed exit interview.


___ Provided employee with termination/continuation of employment insurance benefit information (COBRA, life insurance, supplemental insurance, etc.)

___ Checked HSA participation and informed employee of remaining funds and reimbursement deadlines, if applicable.

___ Checked PTO balance and informed employee of any remaining PTO and how it will be processed at termination of employment.

___ Informed employee about retirement plan options.


___ Notified Payroll department to process final paycheck.

___ Informed Payroll of any unused but earned PTO amounts due to employee.

___ Notified Payroll to process severance pay and whether lump sum or salary continuation (if applicable).


___ Credit cards

___ Keys

___ Computer access

___ Return of church property (laptop, cell phone, books, etc…)

___ Removal from any church accounts (bank, insurance, etc.)

___ Deactivate email / network / intranet / WordPress, etc.



  1. Receive resignation notice from employee with final date.  
  2. Inform staff team.  
  3. Draft a short term coverage plan until longer term staffing replacement is identified.
  4. Calculate final paycheck.
  5. Write final paycheck.
  6. Prepare to shut down or change login information for, email, facebook, instagram, credit card, and any other accounts individual has access to.
    1. Google docs, slack, website bio
  7. Determine exit to include:
    1. Communication with the church community about the departure.
    2. Plans for a Celebrating the departing employees service
  8. Final date of employment –
    1. Collect:
      1. Keys
      2. Computer
      3. Church Credit card
      4. Any other property that belongs to the church
  9. Request
    1. A signed Departure Covenant which includes:
    2. No involvement in the selection of their successor
    3. No involvement with the church as a volunteer in an area where they served in ministry for a specified period of time.
    4. No contact with church members to whom they were in ministry after their departure date, including on social media for a specified period of time.
    5. No conversations about the church on social media.
  10. Remove access to google docs and facebook
  11. Execute short term coverage plan.
  12. Identify longer term coverage plan.
  13. If employee is benefits eligible –
    1. Notify TIAA Creff of last date of employment.
    2. Notify health insurance of last day of employment
    3. Notify UUA of last day of employment

Major Offense

  1. Once terminable offense occurs, confirm it as fact.
  2. Once confirmed as fact, inform Board Executive team.
  3. Consult with Employment Attorney.  
  4. Consider other liability. Review church liability policies.
  5. Inform Regional Lead, request resources and counsel.
  6. Draft a short term coverage plan until longer term staffing replacement is identified.
  7. Calculate final paycheck.
  8. Write final paycheck.
  9. Create a letter of termination and/or severance agreement.
  10. Review letter with Employment Attorney.
  11. Prepare to shut down log in, email, credit card, and any other accounts individual has access to.
  12. Draft letter to notify congregation.
  13. Schedule meeting with employee and/or others needed for meeting.
  14. Have meeting.
    1. Inform what we have been made aware of.  Ask for a response. Document Response.
    2. Give termination letter.
    3. Collect:
      1. Keys
      2. Computer
      3. Church Credit card
      4. Any other property that belongs to the church.
    4. Request:
      1. No contact with church members after this date.
        1. Including on social media
      2. Any incentive for this? Continue benefits for a specified time?
    5. Inform:
      1. We will be disclosing that there has been misconduct with the congregation in order to facilitate healing after this betrayal.  
    6. Immediately walk out of building.
  15. Immediately send letter to congregation.  
    1. Remove name from all publications
  16. Inform staff team.  Make a plan to inform anyone not immediately informed.
  17. Cancel any meetings that need to be cancelled – send out notices.
  18. Contact leaders most immediately impacted that weren’t a part of prior conversations.
  19. Schedule pastoral appointments as necessary.
  20. Execute short term coverage plan.
  21. Identify longer term coverage plan.
  22. Begin grieving and healing process in congregation.  
  23. Remove access to google docs and facebook
  24. Notify TIAA Creff of last date of employment.


Updated on September 12, 2018

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