Rating Your Boss: When does the Lawyer see the Feedback?

July 25, 2007

It won’t surprise you that I read other Blogs. There is a posting on Evil HR Lady about a new website called eBoss Watch where you can anonymously rate your boss and search other employee’s ratings. I think the sight is largely an effort to capitalize on wave of "bullying" articles that have appeared lately.

The Evil HR Lady doesn’t like the site and I agree. These anonymous ratings are purely cathartic and usually don’t have enough structure to give meaningful feedback. I tried to take the eBoss survey, but it was blocked by the office firewall. Major marketing oversight.

There are a whole host of management assessment tools that include employee feedback. Whether its called 360 degree feedback or some other name, it sometimes finds its way to a lawyer’s desk as evidence in a termination case.

The peer feedback and evaluation contained in a 360 feedback can be powerful evidence in employment discrimination cases arising from a performance termination or reduction in force. Although the opinions expressed are entirely subjective, the structure of a 360 evaluation makes it seem objective. In the cases that I have presented 360 evaluation evidence to a judge or jury, it has been a powerful persuader because 360 feedback:

  • Demonstrates that the employer had a process that was designed to help the employee improve performance.
  • Includes both a numeric rating and anecdotal comments.
  • Usually isn’t all negative.
  • Bases its assessment on a broader group of people.
  • Communicates clearly and in writing.

On the other hand, I can’t imagine relying on anonymous website gossip to convince someone that my boss’s performance was good or bad.