Good news for bosses who get nervous when required to giveevaluations: A negative alone isn’t grounds for a lawsuit.
It’s only if the review becomes the basis for discharge, demotion or a denied promotion that employees can take the matter to court.
Recent case: Elias complained he was singled out and retaliated against for complaining about discrimination based on his Native American origin. His evidence: a poor review he received after he had complained.
Elias was later fired for reasons unrelated to the review. He sued, arguing that the review itself was proof of discrimination.
The court disagreed. It said that reviews alone don’t amount to adverse employment actions. (Murdock v. LA Fitness, No. 12-975, DC MN, 2013)