Our team of experts fields real-life, everyday questions from HR managers and gives practical answers that can be applied by any HR pro in the same situation. Today’s question: What are the legal pitfalls of doing reviews via e-mail?
As part of our performance review process, we ask staff members to comment on the performance of other employees, usually via e-mail. Are there any legal pitfalls in conducting peer reviews this way?
Yes, says employment law attorney R. Michael Carr (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Conducting peer reviews via e-mail means you’re going to have a permanent record of co-workers’ comments – some of which could be discriminatory or defamatory.
If supervisors take those comments into account for a disciplinary or termination decision, you leave yourself open to litigation.
Your best bet is to have employees peer review co-workers in person to a supervisor, who can then summarize their comments in an official written report.