For most employers (and, for that matter, employees), the annual employee performance evaluation requirement is as predictable, and about as unwelcome, as the annual income tax filing. Evaluations are time-consuming and, many argue, counterproductive. As with tax returns, there is perennial debate about how the performance evaluation form might be simplified, and about how the process might be improved—made fairer and more productive. But unlike taxes, for most companies, there is no law requiring performance reviews. They are entirely voluntary. And employers are beginning to ask whether they are worth the effort.
Davis Wright Tremaine employment partner Judith Droz Keyes looks at this question, and takes the debate one step further in "The Legal Case for Eliminating Performance Reviews," an article published by the Society of Human Resource Management in the April 2011 issue of HR Magazine. She argues that in addition to the practical reasons, there are solid legal reasons for abandoning performance evaluations as we know them.