Documents Relating to Employment Performance
Documents relating to your employment performance also have significant power as evidence. Keep copies of favorable reviews, written compliments, and awards. They can protect you legally and practically if your work performance ever becomes an issue. Do not rely on your employer to keep copies of these documents. Employers can lose, purge and alter personnel documents. Moreover do not assume you have any automatic right to review your own personnel file.
Pay attention to any unfavorable evaluations or written warnings. These usually mean a termination is eminent. If you are documented unfairly and the documentation is serious, respond in writing in a matter of fact non-defensive way.
Do not refuse to sign an unfair evaluation because that could constitute insubordination. Sign the evaluation, but indicate in writing on the evaulation that you do not agree with it.
Although you need to respond to serious unfair written comments regarding your performance, be wary of starting a memo war. Being overly argumentative, aggressive, or unwilling to accept feedback can jeopardize rather than help. Remember when you are upset or angry, your judgment may not be the best.
Suggestions for Responding to Performance Criticism
- Disregard performance criticism unless it is truly SERIOUS and jeopardizes your career.
- Be factual rather than defensive.
- Try not to be attacking even though you feel attacked.
- In a response, focus on your positive achievements and contributions, not on the unfair criticism.
- Write your response in a careful and formal manner (The response will be more intimidating if written so that someone outside the company could understand and appreciate your comments)
- Do not respond when you have strong feelings that you have little control over. Always get a wise and objective friend to review what you have written before sending it.
- If you feel you may have been discriminated against on a prohibited basis such as age, race, sex or disability, or retaliated against illegally, you should always include this in your response and consider asking an employment attorney to assist you behind the scenes in drafting your response.