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Legal Aspects of Performance Management

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Literature Review of the Legal Aspects of Performance Management Ben France

The importance of understanding the legal issues involved in performance management and the performance appraisal process have grown in the past few years as a result of the globalization of the world’s economy, and as a result of companies and organizations trying to become more productive at a lower cost. Most cases over the last few years have focused on the performance management process, and its ability to withstand legal scrutiny. Organization’s performance management systems are viewed as a test by the court system, and as they are used to make staffing decisions, merit decisions, and separation decisions, the systems themselves must be designed to minimize the chances of discrimination. In the present paper, the elements of the performance management system are examined as a foundation to help recognize the aspects of the process that are subject to litigations, and to help reduce problems that could result in legal disputes. In the Manager’s Guide to HR (Muller, 2009), the legal issues involved in the performance management process can be minimized by the proper planning, design, understanding, and actions involved in a well-designed process. “Proper preparation and structuring of a performance evaluation can transform it from a confrontation into a worthwhile collaboration between you, the employer, and the employee.” (Muller, 2009) The starting point of a legally sound performance management system begins with the job description itself. From a view point that most people want to do a good job, the expectation from any organization to its employee is to tell them what a good job is. While a job description entails what is expected from the employee to the employer, the more competencies that are involved in the performance management process, the better the dialogue...

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