It is important for a company to establish a procedure for conducting employee evaluations to avoid treating individual employees differently, as that may lead to allegations of employment discrimination.  There are a few rules that an employer should consider when crafting a procedure for employee evaluations:  

  • Set standards - Evaluation standards should be the same for all employees of a certain occupation. You should advise your employees of these standards prior to evaluating them.
  • Set goals - Make fair work goals that are tailored for each individual employee. The best way to do this is plan out a goal with the employee in order to find something that would be in both the employer's and employee's interest to accomplish.
  • Evaluations - In each employee's evaluation, make sure to state the standards and goals that were set out, and then talk about what the employee did to strive to accomplish them. Finally, comment on whether the employee was able to maintain these standards and achieve his or her goals. An employer should make it clear in a written evaluation that the employee was not assessed in an arbitrary manner. 

What Can an Employer Do to Make Sure Employee Evaluations Are Fair?

There are several things an employer can make sure to do so that it clear that employee evaluations are not arbitrary, but based on a fair and set practice. In order to remain impartial, an employer should:

  • Give details - Do not set out broad standards or goals like "be more productive." The employee may not have vaguest clue on how or when they have accomplished this type of goal. Instead, use quantitative measurements in standards and goals, and give examples of the employee's work practices in the evaluation. Be sure to also include deadlines so that an employee was aware of the time-frame for completing these standards and goals.
  • Be open with the employee - If there is a problem with the employee's work performance, let the employee know in a timely manner so that he has a chance to remedy the problem. If an employer simply fires an employee without any previous notice of a problem that could be fixed, the employer may expose itself to a wrongful termination suit.

Do I Need a Lawyer for my Employee Evaluation Problem?

Whether you are an employee or employer, consulting with an employment lawyer can help you.  An experienced employment attorney can help an employer draft employee evaluation policies.  An employment lawyer also can advise employees if their rights were violated.  If you feel you were wrongfully terminated because of your evaluation you should also contact an attorney.