A 360-degree review can be used to show process was fair

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Firing,Human Resources

Some employees can never seem to see that their bad attitudes and behaviors cause workplace problems. Confronted with complaints, they inevitably claim their subordinates or customers are wrong.

When they’re finally terminated, those kinds of employees are quite likely to sue.

That’s when it’s handy to have a performance appraisal process that uses 360-degree reviews, in which subordinates, supervisors, other managers and customers all assess the employee. If all sources largely agree, that’s powerful proof to a court that the employee was the problem—not anyone else.

Recent case: Ronald Vahey worked for Philips Electronics until he was fired at age 47. He sued, alleging age discrimination.

Philips said the real reason was that Vahey was abrasive and adversarial, according to his subordinates and some customers.

Vahey claimed that just wasn’t true. He insisted to the court that calling him abrasive was just an excuse for Philips to fire him on account of age.

But he couldn’t counter a 360-degree evaluation that was performed shortly before he was terminated. The review showed that everyone—supervisors, subordinates and even customers—found him abrasive and adversarial. The court tossed out the case. (Vahey v. Philips Electronics, No. 10-15052, 11th Cir., 2012)

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