Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Employee Evaluation Acknowledgment

The Legal Intelligencer ran an interesting piece today, 10 Tips for Avoiding Liability in Conducting Evaluations. The whole thing is worth a read but I'd like to focus on one of the 10 tips:
10. Meet. A manager who e-mails or drops a performance appraisal on an employee's desk closes the door to open communication . . . . Managers should communicate with employees about their performance appraisals. . . . It's best, of course, to have employees sign their appraisals acknowledging receipt, but if an employee refuses to sign — the employer today has an option that was unavailable years ago — send the employee a PDF of the review (with a cc to Human Resources).
Yes, managers can confirm delivery of the performance evaluation via email, but how can that be avoided?

A few tips for getting employees to sign the acknowledgment form:

  • Explain what it is: A record that the employee received a copy of the evaluation, like a receipt
  • Explain what it is not: It does not indicate that the employee agrees with the evaluation or that the employee admits any conduct covered in the evaluation;
  • Put it on the form: Make the two points above in the text of the form itself; and
  • Give the employee a copy
And if they still won't sign it? Make a record of that on the form itself. Do not be obnoxious, just write something plain and direct (ex. "Employee refuses to sign acknowledgment form."). Then email a copy, but make sure you save a record of the email.

Posted by Philip Miles, an employment lawyer with McQuaide Blasko in State College, Pennsylvania.