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Termination & Workplace Issues

Federal work-study students are accountable for,

  • job proficiency and performance;
  • dependability;
  • personal conduct; and
  • general compliance with Northwestern Federal Work-Study, Human Resources, and department/unit policies and procedures.

Workplace Issues

Student employees and supervisors may have concerns about workplace issues including but not limited to performance, dependability, conduct, and compliance with Northwestern policies and procedures. 

Constructive Feedback

To the greatest extent possible, student employees and supervisors should engage in frequent and honest conversations throughout the year in addition to the formal performance evaluation. If necessary, supervisors and student employees should discuss particular observed workplace issues pertaining to performance and proficiency, dependability, conduct, and policy compliance and create a mutually agreed-upon improvement goal with a clearly stated timeframe. 

Guided conversation questions and tips are outlined in the Giving and Receiving Constructive Feedback presentation from the Office of the Ombudsperson. 

If the issue persists, the supervisor should email the student describing the problem and note the consequences if the behavior is not corrected within a stated timeframe.

Failure to resolve any extenuating workplace issues after steps taken above or any of the noted breaches of integrity outlined below, may lead to involuntary termination. 

Other Workplace Issues

Some issues may require consultation with any of the below office according to the issue at hand: 

  • Complaints of discrimination or harassment based on protected categories can contact the Office of Equity at
  • Complaints of sexual misconduct or harassment can contact the Title IX Coordinator at
  • The Office of the Ombudsperson offers an opportunity to discuss and resolve problems outside of the formal channels noted above and can provide confidential and informal counsel, referrals, and conflict resolution. Email

Resignation or Voluntary Termination

The Federal Work-Study Office strongly encourages students to remain in their positions the entire academic year unless otherwise noted in the job description. We realize, however, that school is students' primary responsibility. Should an unforeseen conflict arise between classes and work schedule, or the job does not allow sufficient time for studies, the student can terminate their position. Students should notify their supervisor at least two weeks before the separation date. 

To the greatest extent possible, position timeframes should be noted in the job posting and communicated to the student employee before accepting a position. If, however, unforeseen budgetary constraints or the completion of a project such as the case for external funded grant positions leads to the cessation of student employment necessity, the employer should provide the student employee as much advance written notice as possible, generally two weeks, to provide time for the student to secure alternative employment.

Involuntary Termination of Employment

Breaches of integrity usually call for involuntary and immediate dismissal from the Federal Work-Study program. Causes for involuntary termination of employment include but are not limited to:

  • Criminal conviction
  • Falsification of hiring records or timekeeping falsification
  • Poor performance issues including,
    • Unprofessional conduct
    • Blatant insubordination
    • Job abandonment or purposeful failure to perform any obligation without a valid excuse
  • Physical violence or the threat of it
  • Research misconduct
  • Fraud
  • Theft
  • Improper disclosure or use of private or confidential information including unauthorized use of information systems or data
  • Intentional destruction of Northwestern property
  • Violations of Northwestern’s policies prohibiting discrimination, harassment, sexual misconduct,
    or non-retaliation, and
  • Serious or intentional violations of Northwestern policy or state and federal law
  • Conduct detrimental to Northwestern's interests or reputation.


Upon voluntary or involuntary termination proceedings, the supervisor should complete a Work-Study Termination Form and an Employee Performance Evaluation Form. The supervisor should also deactivate students in the myHR Temp Panel to discontinue the student's employment.