Retaliation by employers can take various forms, including negative changes in performance evaluations.
Examples of Retaliation in Performance Evaluations
Retaliation in a performance evaluation can manifest in various ways. Here are some examples:
Unwarranted Negative Feedback
Providing disproportionately negative feedback that is not supported by the employee’s actual performance, especially after the employee engaged in a protected activity.
Lowered Ratings or Scores
Arbitrarily assigning lower ratings or scores in specific performance categories which adversely affects the overall evaluation without valid justification based on performance metrics.
Inconsistent Application of Criteria
Applying evaluation criteria inconsistently, such as holding an employee to a different standard than their peers.
Using Performance Reviews for Further Retaliation
If your employer is retaliating against you by using your performance review, it may be used as a precursor to justify the following adverse actions:
Denial of Advancement Opportunities
Denying an employee opportunities for promotion, training, or career development that they would otherwise be eligible for based on their performance.
Demotion or Change in Responsibilities
Sudden demotion or reassignment to lower-level tasks or responsibilities without valid performance-related reasons.
Change in Job Title or Classification
Altering an employee’s job title or classification without proper justification based on their performance which may negatively impact their career prospects or compensation.
Loss of Benefits or Perks
Retaliation can involve removing benefits, privileges, or perks that the employee previously enjoyed without legitimate performance-related reasons.
Isolation or Ostracization
Treating the employee differently from their colleagues, excluding them from meetings, discussions, or social interactions, or isolating them in a way that negatively impacts their work environment.
Increased Supervision or Micromanagement
Subjecting the employee to heightened levels of supervision, scrutiny, or micromanagement can be a form of retaliation to create a hostile work environment.
Termination or Threats of Termination
In extreme cases, an employer might resort to terminating the employee or making implicit or explicit threats of termination, in retaliation based on their doctored performance review.
Legal Recourse Against Retaliation
Employees are protected from retaliation under various federal and state laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Whistleblower Protection Act. If you suspect that you have been a victim of retaliation in your performance evaluation, you have legal options:
- File a Complaint with a Government Agency:
- Civil Rights Department (CRD): Employees can file a complaint with California’s CRD, which enforces state laws against discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.
- Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC): In cases involving federal anti-discrimination laws, such as Title VII, employees may file a complaint with the EEOC.