What Are the Legal Issues Involved in Performance Appraisals?
Performance evaluation is a well-established part of any organization, yet many people are not aware of the legal issues involved in performance evaluations. Most people believe that performance evaluations only pertain to how individuals perform on a particular task or perform in previous studies. That is not entirely true, though. First, performance evaluations involve a careful analysis of a person or an organization as a whole, not just one or two aspects of that organization.
If performance management is effective, it will require that every aspect of an organization be closely examined. Whether these aspects are internal controls, such as supervision and disciplinary actions, or external controls, such as performance reviews and feedback, or in processes such as quality assurance and making changes, the final results must meet legal standards. The legal issue involved when evaluating performance is that there are a variety of opinions about the best ways to assess performance.
For some, performance management is simply giving employees what they need to do their job effectively. For others, performance management is primarily about increasing the level of pay and benefits, which is entirely different than what is covered by legal standards when evaluating employees for performance. When performance is the focus of an evaluation, it is essential to realize the differences between subjective and objective assessment. The former is what is considered legal standards. And while an employee may have gone above and beyond the acceptable range in a given area, this is regarded as inappropriate use of performance management techniques.
Evaluations can be used to judge how influential leaders are at leading their teams, providing services to customers, communicating with co-workers, leading in meetings, etc. It also covers aspects of the business that are not always considered productivity-based, such as customer relations, building a good reputation, and performing well while they are on the clock. Performance evaluations can cover all of these areas or focus on one of them. Because the nature of the business requires quick and periodic feedback, companies are often forced to develop systems that offer what are called “evaluation templates.”
These templates are typically provided by the company that is developing the appraisal to simplify things. The problem is that because these templates are standard and a form of standardization, the actual reviews from one company will not be used anywhere else. Many companies are looking for outside expertise to create a “custom template,” one that meets their specific needs to avoid this issue. Others have their appraisers that they contract out to evaluate particular aspects of each employee’s work. In these cases, even though the person doing the evaluation is paid by the company, the legal standards still apply because it is still an evaluation of a person’s performance and therefore subject to the same legal standards as appraisals for products or services.
It is essential to understand why performance appraisals are usually required even when they are not being utilized to make an employment decision. When an individual performs below expectations, the company must evaluate that performance. It may help the company determine whether the employee’s job is being completed to the employee’s standards or if the employee is genuinely working hard but simply is not benefiting from the performance level. Suppose the employee does not receive positive remarks. In that case, the employee should be asked the legal issues involved in performance appraisals and whether or not that performance impacts the employee’s salary, benefits, and so forth. If so, the company should find a way to alter or remove the negative aspects of the appraisal not to cause employees to feel as if they are being punished for past performance. Otherwise, it could lead to litigation and potential employer damages.
Some companies have used performance appraisals to identify potential employees who may not be worth as much as others in the company but who may perform the duties needed. This method can also determine how much a doctor will be paid for a surgical procedure. The appraisal tells the company what they should pay the employee for performing a particular task. Still, it also allows the employee to defend themselves in court if they are being accused of discrimination. Because this type of action is usually taken in a court of law, the employee must understand entirely the legal issues involved in performance appraisals before they give any performance evaluations. This will help them defend their actions in the court’s eyes, and it will also help them receive the highest amount of pay possible.
Suppose you have an employee who is about to be tested for a performance appraisal. In that case, it is essential that they completely understand what the legal issues involved in performance appraisals before they give their performance evaluation are. It can be a very confusing topic, and the employee may not always fully understand what is expected of them. However, suppose they are allowed to learn more about the legal issues involved in performance appraisals. In that case, they will be better able to defend themselves if they are ever accused of any legal discrimination.