I've talked about how important it is for the job seeker and employee to learn all they can about job evaluations or performance reviews. But, unfortunately this still continues to be a weapon many employers are using unjustly to discriminate, demote or terminate.

If you are fired for poor job performance but your boss has inaccurate or inadequate records, courts can make mincemeat out of the company. Career seekers and employees here's a BIG TIP! Often times employers don't think job evaluations are something you can legally challenge them on!

Many court cases point to juries lowering the boom on businesses and organizations that;

  • provide satisfactory "ratings" but terminate for bad performance
  • can't prove the employee was given opportunity to improve
  • can't prove the employee was informed what to expect
  • add false or misleading documents to the job evaluation

Our employers should have specific well written, easy to understand guidelines for employee performance appraisal. Important personnel decisions made haphazardly invite all kinds of problems for you and the employer. When managers and supervisors have no established performance review standards, they will likely focus on the employee and not the employee's work ethic.

There are unfortunately, many ill trained and incompetent managers who evaluate on personal or subjective "likes" and "dislikes" of the employee being judged. This leads to discrimination and bias because all employees are not being evaluated equitably.

Don't Lose Your Job Because Of This!

Here are some things job seekers and employees can use to protect against unjust performance reviews.

Objective Guidelines
Make sure your boss is focused on the job and how it's being performed and not subjective things such as, "You don't shoot the breeze with me like your co-workers".
Understand Performance Standards
If you have not been given and informed about all the tools and resources needed to satisfactorily perform your job the evaluation process is bogus!
I can never stress enough how critically important this is for employees. Keep a record of every job evaluation, reprimand, warning, meeting, memo, witnesses, etc. Especially, if what you are told does not line of with company written policies and procedures.
Employer Bias
Be aware of any language the supervisor uses in the evaluation that may display gender, age, race or other bias. For example, your manager says, "The recent college grads we hired appear to get it, but you still have a problem." The "recent college grads" are in their 20's, but you are 50.
Keep Track of All Raises
If your bosses evaluation says you aren't doing the job, she may have a hard time justifying that if you are still getting raises.
Know What's in Your HR File
Some "bad bosses" will slip negative things into your personnel file without your knowledge. I always get a copy of my personnel file at least once a year. Unfortunately, in some states employers aren't obligated to provide you with a copy.
Watch Your Job Performance
If your employer wants to "show you the door" don't give him justification. Always seek to perform your job to the best of your ability!
Be Specific and Straightforward
My policy is, "What you honestly see is what you honestly get". I always keep truth with me when I talk to my boss. I have no hidden agendas. I let him know what to expect from me and what I expect from him. The agreed upon employment guidelines should be respected by both sides.
Be Careful What You Sign
This is another HUGE area for employees. Personally, I never sign any job evaluation good or bad. In fact, I never sign any document that doesn't involve things like insurance, deferred compensation, etc. Signing an employer generated document can be perilous. It can always be used against you later.

Samuel Culbert, a professor of management at UCLA says, "It's time to put the performance review out of its misery. This corporate sham is one of the most insidious, most damaging, and yet ubiquitous of corporate activities." He further states, the performance review is "a pretentious, bogus practice that produces absolutely nothing that any thinking executive should call a corporate plus".

WOW! I couldn't agree more! Mr. Culbert has published a book called, Get Rid of The Performance Review! However, until that happens, career seekers and employees should continue to learn how to use performance reviews.

Author's Bio: 

Yancey Thomas Jr. functions as a certified mediator in conflict resolution of employment and general civil issues. He is a mediator on the national panel through the Cornell University Alliance for Dispute Resolution with emphasis on employment/workplace disputes. As an employee, he has a unique perspective on how to prepare for employment. Yancey's employee performance review link offers the job seeker and employee more job evaluation tips!