Reductions in Workforce

It is the policy of the university to provide stable employment to its employees. However, conditions that necessitate a reduction in the university's work force may arise. The need for personnel reduction because of reorganization, lack of work, lack of funds, or the abolishment or reduction of an activity as implemented by the budget unit head or dean will be reviewed and approved by the appropriate provost or vice president. 

Managers should follow the steps on this page to prepare for and conduct reductions in force (RIF). Review the RIF Flowchart for an overview of the process on the first tab below.

Flowchart for Reductions in Force

Develop a Reduction in Force (RIF) Plan including the information below. 

RIF Description

The RIF plan should answer the following questions. Click here to review the RIF Plan template.

  1. Why is a reduction in workforce necessary? A reduction in the workforce may be caused by several factors such as reorganization, new assignments, budget limitations, financial exigency.
  2. What alternatives were considered prior to layoff? University policy requires that alternatives to reductions in force should be considered. Such alternatives may include reassignment, lateral movement, and reclassification.
  3. What was the rationale for deciding which function(s) in the overall operation must be preserved, altered or eliminated as a result of this reduction in workforce?
  4. What classifications will be affected by the above decision and what will be the result on personnel? The policy also requires that an alternative should be chosen that would have the least impact on equal opportunity gains. Also, performance should be the primary consideration with seniority as second.

Workforce Analysis

A workforce analysis must be done as part of the reduction in work force plan.  This analysis must address all of the following issues. 

  1. A “total workforce” analysis must list the name and classification of all employees in the affected organizational unit. Click here to find the Workforce Analysis template.
  2. Additionally, the “affected classifications” analysis must also provide the following information on employees in positions which the RIF will potentially impact. Click here to find the Analysis of Affected Classification template
  • Employee ID
  • Date of Last Performance Evaluation
  • Last Performance Evaluation Rating
  • Adjusted Status Date (Total service with OU)
  • Race
  • Sex
  • Age
  • Veteran’s Status
  • Disability
  • Retain (Yes/No)
  • Specific Reason for layoff (if applicable)

Employee Notification Letter

Provide a draft of the letter notifying the employee(s) of the layoff action when you submit the Reduction in Force plan. Section 3.7 of the Staff Handbook describes the contents required in the written notice. Click here to find the Employee Notification template

  • The reason for the layoff or displacement including the reason for not retaining the particular employee.
  • The effective date of the layoff.
  • The right to appeal the layoff within 10 working days of the receipt of notification through the university's grievance procedure.
  • A statement regarding the terms of reemployment or reinstatement.
  • A statement regarding the responsibility of the department and Human Resources to assist in securing other employment, without guarantee.


Submit the RIF plan for review and approval by the Dean/Administrator, as appropriate.

If approved by applicable Dean/Administrator, send the RIF Plan to the Human Resources Business Partners, who will work with the internal department partners for review and procedural approval. 

If approved by the HR Business Partners, submit the approval and the RIF Plan to the appropriate Provost or Vice President for final review and approval. 

Give affected employees the written notice of reduction in force by personal delivery service or certified mail with a return receipt. Employees must receive 30 calendar days notice of reduction in force. 

Reductions in Force Documents
Use these documents to prepare for and conduct a reduction in force.
Campus: HSC, Norman, Tulsa
Campus: HSC, Norman, Tulsa
Campus: HSC, Norman, Tulsa
Campus: HSC, Norman, Tulsa
8 Results Results

Consider This

You might also find this page helpful:


University of Oklahoma Staff Handbook
Section 3.7 - Reductions in Force


  • Norman: HR Employee Relations, 405-325-1826, NEL 253 
  • OKC Campus: HR Employee Relations, 405-271-2194, Suite 270 
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