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A postdoctoral appointment is at-will and may be terminated or ended at any time, with or without cause, with or without notice. However, absent extraordinary circumstances or misconduct, at least two months’ written notice should be provided before ending a postdoctoral appointment.  Prior to taking action, the faculty mentor must discuss the proposed termination in advance with the postdoc, department chair, and/ or the respective school dean. A faculty mentor should pay particular attention to the following situations and guidelines:

1. Loss of funding: At least two months before the last day on which the postdoc performs duties, the postdoc should be given written notice of the loss of funding which will result in the ending of the appointment.

2. Unsatisfactory performance: If a postdoc’s performance remains unsatisfactory after a sufficient period of evaluation and allowable time for corrective action, the faculty mentor should provide at least two months’ written notice before ending the appointment, unless misconduct is involved. Written documentation of any performance concerns and needed corrective actions should be given to the postdoc in a timely fashion, outlining a time frame for corrective action and the consequences of continued unsatisfactory performance, including termination of the appointment. Any performance concerns and plans for corrective action should also be carefully documented in the annual IDP.

3. Misconduct: All postdocs are expected to adhere to relevant Vanderbilt policies (and VUMC policies if VUMC employed/paid). Cases of misconduct will be addressed on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the appropriate offices and may lead to immediate termination.



If a postdoc appointment will not be renewed, the postdoc should be provided written notice stating the non-renewal at least two months before the last day of the current appointment.


Postdoc Resignation

Postdocs should provide a one-month working notice prior to resignation per relevant Vanderbilt and VUMC policies.

Postdoc PTO/leave time is not paid out if unused.

Regardless of the reason for the termination, the department must submit the following to terminate a postdoctoral appointment:

Trainee (VU or VUMC) 1. Benefits Action Form (BAF) – follow the instructions for
submission on the form.
Required to terminate insurance coverage. Submit a BAF prior to the requested termination date OR no later than two weeks after the requested termination date. Center numbers and/or COA/POETS will continue to be charged until a termination BAF is received.

BAFs are located at:

2. Termination:
VU: via Oracle Cloud

VUMC: Stipend Request Form : follow the instructions for submission on the form.
VU Postdoc Scholar, Research or VUMC Research FellowTermination – submit termination information in the appropriate system:

VU: via Oracle Cloud
VUMC: via ePac


Please email if you have any questions.


Updated: January 5, 2021