It’s one of the sad realities of today’s litigious world: Even when you win a lawsuit, you’re seldom able to recoup all your legal fees unless you win big. That’s true even if your opponent is the EEOC and it’s clear it didn’t have much of a case to begin with.
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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When an employee threatens litigation, take your time building the case against him. Make sure you base your decision on solid facts. Double-check to see that there’s no way the employee can claim you singled him out for unfair or inequitable treatment. Then rest easy, knowing that if you’re sued, you can counter the allegations with facts and get the case dismissed quickly.
In a perfect world, no one would ever utter a slur or make a derogatory comment. But this isn’t a perfect world, and employees come to work with emotional and cultural baggage. It’s up HR to make sure that baggage doesn’t turn into a discrimination lawsuit.
Q. I recently fired an employee for performance problems. At the end of the termination meeting, he asked for a copy of his personnel file. Do I have to give discharged employees copies of their personnel files?
You and the supervisors at your organization have read horror stories of negative performance reviews spawning lawsuits from disgruntled employees. As a result, some supervisors may shy away from rating someone lower than his or her colleagues. That fear is one main reason too many reviews are positive even if performance is average or poor. The better thing to do is to urge your supervisors to “get real” with reviews.
Years ago, a landmark study at General Electric found its performance appraisal counterproductive and ineffective. Praise had no effect on performance, and criticism led to backsliding. What was going on?
An Atlantic City jury has awarded Scott Jones $1.8 million in his suit against his former employer, South Jersey Gas, after the company dismissed him for poor work performance. Jones claimed his poor performance was due to his battle with depression and that the company failed to discuss accommodations of his condition.
One of the most legally dangerous things you can do after you terminate an employee is change the reason for ending the employment relationship. Instead, decide on a defensible rationale at the time of the termination. Document that decision and all the supporting evidence. Then remind execs and supervisors to stay on script.
When a new boss suddenly gives a lousy performance review to an employee who is used to getting good reviews, the employee may try to blame the change on the new supervisor’s alleged bias. Absent other evidence, that won’t prove discrimination in court.
Employees who qualify as “disabled” under the ADA have the right to reasonable accommodations to allow them to perform the essential functions of their jobs. But choosing those accommodations requires an “interactive process” between employer and employee. Employers that rush to judgment about the alleged disability or the accommodation request will risk legal trouble.