As an employee, we understand that you want to be liked first, and ultimately respected. After all, who wants to work in an environment where their opinion is not appreciated and they are tormented by naysayers.

Unfortunately, negative personal views of an employee can manifest themselves in performance reviews. Whether they are quarterly, semi-annually or annually, a performance review can mean the difference between a promotion or the first step in being terminated.

Indeed, employers are encouraged to avoid sugarcoating their reviews because employees may not receive the feedback they need in order to improve. At the same time, when the evaluation is based on aesthetics instead of empirical evidence, this could form the basis of a wrongful termination case.

Employees who receive a negative performance evaluation should look for the following elements. 

Factual examples of missteps – As alluded to before, an evaluation should focus on verifiable examples and not just a supervisor’s opinion of work performance. Factual details of what was not completed is essential.

Proof of prior notice – Not everyone likes surprises, especially if they entail the possibility of losing one’s job. So a poor performance evaluation should have specific details about when a supervisor notified the employee of deficient performance, and what would be necessary to improve.

A cure period – Whether it is an opportunity to revisit performance in a future evaluation, or a mandate to meet certain goals, a performance evaluation should include a specified cure period so that the employee has an opportunity to improve.

If a termination is based on an evaluation that lacks these elements, there may be a basis for a wrongful termination lawsuit.

The preceding is not legal advice. Specific questions should be forwarded to an experienced employment law attorney