Performance Reviews

For most managers, conducting effective performance reviews is the most daunting part of their job. Don’t look on it with dread! Make your performance appraisals work for you, not against you with these tools: performance review examples, tips on writing employee reviews, sample performance reviews and employee evaluation forms.
So, your tasked with assessing employee performance and writing performance reviews. Where do you get started?

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Smart employers respond to every harassment and discrimination complaint and follow up even if they believe there was nothing to the complaint. But some employers ignore this simple advice and choose to blow off employee complaints instead of logging them, investigating and making a determination about what happened. That’s a huge mistake.

An employee who thinks her supervisor is out to get her may be on the lookout for perceived discrimination. She can turn a negative performance appraisal into a bias lawsuit. The only way to prepare for surprise lawsuits is to consistently treat all employees alike and document that fair treatment. For example, performance evaluations should include as many objective measures as possible, making it easier to compare employees.
Having complete records of why you disciplined an employee often gives a court the information it needs to decide whether you’ve discriminated—or even retaliated against someone who has leveled serious charges against you.

Here’s a tip if you are revising your employee handbook: When it comes to discipline, make sure you give yourself some flexibility to deal with unusual circumstances. For example, if you want to use progressive discipline, be sure to account for the rare situations that may warrant immediate suspension or discharge.

If your organization is unionized and operates under a collective bargaining agreement that calls for progressive discipline, think twice before automatically firing an employee you believe has sexually harassed other employees. Unless your contract specifies discharge for a first harassment offense, you may have to follow your progressive discipline program.

Your progressive discipline probably gives you some flexibility to hand out different punishment, depending on the seriousness of the employee misconduct. As a practical matter, that means you must decide whether what one employee does is more serious than another’s similar transgression. Make sure you’re able to explain why one offense was worse than another and deserved harsher punishment.

Good employers strive to create a workplace that’s as respectful and civil as possible. But even in organizations that try their best, supervisors and managers sometimes mess up. A poor choice of words or an ill-timed joke can create tension and inflame passions. Mistakes like those don’t necessarily mean the employer is destined to lose if an employee sues.
Unless an employee has a poor performance history, don’t fire him a few days after he reports harassment.

The New Jersey Supreme Court has handed disgruntled employees a big weapon to use against their employers. The court ruled that Joyce Quinlan was within her rights to photocopy company documents—some of which were confidential—to use in a lawsuit against Curtiss-Wright, the aerospace company where she once served as executive director of human resources.

If your managers and supervisors respond to reference calls by offering negative information, a lawsuit is probably coming. That’s why the best practice is to refer all calls for reference checks to HR. Then, only provide the most basic information.
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