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Poor performer? Give examples during review

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

Not every new hire works out—including applicants who looked promising or at least competent during the interview process. Chances are, you’ll realize early on that you made a hiring mistake. Start planning right away what to do next.

You’ll want to give the employee a chance to improve, but you’ll also want to protect the company in the event of a lawsuit. Providing a detailed and thorough performance review that includes specific examples and suggestions will help.

Recent case: Asha Bhat, an Ameri­­can woman of Indian national origin and ethnicity, was hired as a junior analyst by consultant firm Accenture. Almost immediately it became appar­ent that, despite two master’s degrees, Bhat was difficult to work with.

Her first review after completing her initial project included praise for her analytical skills, but also noted that she pushed too hard for her ideas at times, had trouble accepting constructive criticism and struggled to understand business objectives.

Bhat didn’t take the review well. She announced that she would “ignore it.”

After moving on to her second project, things didn’t improve. A second review, by a different supervisor, noted that she was pulled from the assignment because she wasn’t meeting deadlines or accepting criticism. Plus she apparently broke down in tears at a client site. Shortly after, Bhat was terminated along with several other employees.

She sued, alleging various forms of discrimination. Bhat claimed the poor evaluations she received had “no basis in reality.”

But when she couldn’t counter any of the specific criticism leveled against her in the evaluations, the court concluded she hadn’t met her burden of showing that Accenture didn’t really believe she was performing poorly when it fired her. (Bhat v. Accenture, No. 11-3147, 7th Cir., 2012)

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