Performance evaluations help employers maintain high quality work standards and give employees feedback on their work and areas in which they can improve. If an employee is given a poor evaluation, this may later be used as a reason to terminate or pass her up for a promotion. Federal and state laws are in place to protect employees from discriminatory performance reviews.
While many companies' policies require performance evaluations, they are not required by Fair Labor Standards Act. This act does not apply to federal employees. All federal agencies must have a performance plan that includes a system for periodic employee evaluations. The specific requirements vary by agency and are based on the objectives of the agency and the role of the federal employee. The results of these evaluations are used to reward, promote, terminate or reassign employees. State law determines whether employees in the state government are required to have performance evaluations.
Employers may not discriminate against employees during performance evaluations. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not allow discrimination based on race, sex, religion or nationality. In addition, employers may not give a female a poor review because of pregnancy or childbirth. Anti-discrimination laws are enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Americans with Disabilities Act
If an employee has a disability, he is protected from discrimination in a performance evaluation by the Americans with Disabilities Act. The performance review may only cover the disabled employee's specific duties and may not be lowered based on any reasonable accommodations the employee needs to complete the job. Some examples of reasonable accommodations include modifying work schedules or equipment.
Each state has additional laws pertaining to performance evaluations for workers. For example, workers in California are entitled to have access to their personnel files and performance evaluations at no cost. In Illinois, teachers are evaluated based on the Performance Evaluation Reform Act. This Act lays out the factors on which teachers are evaluated, including student growth measures.
- EEOC: Federal Laws Prohibiting Job Discrimination Questions And Answers
- U.S. Department of Labor: Are Periodic Performance Evaluations Required?
- Cornell University Law School: Establishment of Performance Appraisal Systems
- State of California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement: Personnel Files and Records
- Illinois State Board of Education: Performance Evaluation Advisory Council
- U.S. Office of Personnel Management: A Handbook for Measuring Employee Performance
- USDA: How Do I Evaluate an Employee's Performance?
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