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Are job evaluation questions, answers used against you? Part 1

Job evaluations can make or break employment for anyone working for a living or providing for a family. The American workplace is becoming more complex. That means trouble for every career seeker and employee that ignores educating themselves to these changes.

In this and coming articles we are going on a journey across the sea of job evaluation questions and answers employers use to assess, control, intimidate or eliminate employees. We are also going to share job evaluation Q&A’s that should be used by employees to improve, educate themselves and keep management honest.

The following are some questions the employee could and should ask.

How does this job evaluation benefit me?

The level of benefit from the job evaluation by the employee depends on the credibility of the overall evaluation process. Let’s assume you work with honorable management that uses job evaluations effectively in the same good faith you show in participating. Here are of some benefits gained from active good faith participation in job evaluations.

  • Knowing exactly what’s expected from you (minimizes guesswork)
  • Recognition for work achievement
  • Specific helpful management answers to your questions
  • Good faith assistance from management for job improvement
  • Clear understanding of where you stand
  • Understanding how your job performance helps the business succeed

Should I get a copy of the job evaluation form to “review” before meeting with my supervisor?

Some employers may not allow this and as far as I know there’s no law that requires them to do so absent any union (CBA)collective bargaining agreement. However, I would ask for a copy of the job evaluation form that will be used. I would review it, understand it, and get clarification from my manager BEFORE the job evaluation begins. If your supervisor is reluctant about providing you a copy, request one from human resources.

I don’t agree with the job evaluation, should I sign it?

There are different schools of thought on this one. Personally, my experience has been to always by default NEVER sign a job evaluation. Why? Even if the evaluation says “I acknowledge that I have read this form” it CAN and WILL be used against you if and when you file a lawsuit. Many employers will seek to give you a false sense of security by saying, “Signing just acknowledges that you’ve read and understood it”, yeah right!

Even if the evaluation is praising me for a job well done, I will not sign it. Why? There is always some area that HR or the employers legal department will ferret out to use against me if necessary. This situation is another reason why it’s critically important to read all employment documentation including the handbook to see what the policy is on this. Some employers make signing any and all documentation mandatory as a condition of employment.

If your employer requires you to sign a job evaluation, you can add “I’m acknowledging reading and understanding it, but I DO NOT agree with the evaluation itself”.

What about issues the supervisor brings out in the job evaluation meeting not previously addressed?

Oh boy, I love this one. I have personal first hand experience in this area. Here’s the backdrop. I had just successfully been reinstated after being terminated for alleged insubordination. I proved by learning my Basic Employee Rights BEFORE the termination that it was not justified. Managements reaction was to ratchet up the discrimination, harassment, intimidation, retaliation and blatant attempts to violate my rights such as the (ADA) American with Disabilities Act and even my Constitutional Rights!

After reinstatement I filed a formal lawsuit to have all benefits and compensation restored. As part of the retaliation the new manager negatively evaluated me for an issue I was NOT responsible or accountable for. He then at the direction of the department manager in what I call “workplace conspiracy” with HR and the legal department “grandfathered” the alleged issue forward to the next evaluation period! Thus making sure I had two consecutive negative evaluation periods which affected the percentage of my raise! This is also an example of what’s called “dirtying” the personnel file, because copies of evaluations are routinely placed in them.

This is a picture of the incompetence and stupidity of many management cultures. All they accomplished was to provide me with even more evidence of “bad faith” intent wrapped in harassment, discrimination and retaliation. Competent management cultures will be aware of two very important principles;

(1) Address any issues or concerns WHEN they happen with the employee.

(2) Never surprise the employee during the evaluation meeting with issues NOT previously discussed.

I would explain that I can’t change something in the past,(even if it never happened) but I have a need and right to know in advance what mistakes, complaints or problems before the evaluation so I can try to address and correct them. Employees are not mind readers. If a situation takes place that’s serious enough to affect a job evaluation, why would any “good faith” employer not deal with it when it happens. Bosses that operate this way are begging for a EEOC lawsuit.

Well, that’s a mouth full for this month. Next month I will have more real world job evaluation questions, answers such as “What’s the best way to prepare for a job evaluation meeting” and how they can be used for and against you.

More blessings to come!

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