Home|Audio Conferences|Performance Management Pitfalls

Performance Management Pitfalls: Legal issues in employee evaluations

Thursday, September 19, 2019, 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm EDT

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Elaine Doyle



Tina-Marie Bradford

Staff Representative, Advocacy Department
BC Government and Service Employees' Union
John Donkor

Employer Counsel
Donkor Employment and Labour Law


Performance management is a useful tool that can enhance communication between employers and employees, promote workplace accountability and employee engagement, and help clarify organizational goals and expectations. Yet if conducted improperly, performance management can create significant legal issues for employers, damage employee morale, and lower workplace productivity. In this session, experts will identify common pitfalls and discuss best practices in performance management, addressing issues such as the following:

  • In addition to a yearly performance review, what actions or processes can performance management entail? What is the difference between performance management and progressive discipline?
  • What types of biases can affect performance evaluation? How might discrimination arise intentionally or unintentionally in the course of performance management? What strategies should employers implement in evaluating and managing performance to counteract bias, avoid discrimination, and ensure fair treatment of employees?
  • How should an employer respond to an employee's poor performance? What are best practices for discussing poor performance with an employee? Is an employer obliged to offer support or training to an employee who is performing poorly? Can employees challenge negative performance reviews that they feel are inaccurate or unfair?
  • Do employers have a duty to inquire into whether a disability might be contributing to an employee's poor performance? Does the duty to accommodate require employers to apply lower performance standards to or suspend performance reviews of employees with disabilities?
  • What are the characteristics of an effective and legally compliant performance improvement plan? When might a performance improvement plan or a negative performance review be considered a form of retaliation or disguised discipline?
  • What criteria must an employer meet to justify dismissing an employee for poor performance? Are probationary or short-term employees subject to different standards? When, if ever, will dismissal be justified if poor performance can be linked to a protected ground under human rights legislation?
  • Can performance management ever constitute bullying or harassment? How do adjudicators differentiate between abusive and legitimate management actions? How should an employer handle a claim of harassment against a supervisor by an employee who may simply be unhappy being managed?
  • What is the role of the union in performance management? Do employees have the right to union representation during performance reviews or other performance management meetings?

Additional Information

Valuable, up-to-date materials and case summaries will be available for downloading from our website. Each audio conference is accompanied by a PDF of concise summaries of the cases discussed.

Audio conference MP3 files are available for $260. Those who have purchased the live audio conference may purchase the corresponding downloadable audio MP3 file for the discounted price of $160.

The recorded MP3 file and materials are available for download one business day after the live audio conference. After purchasing, you will receive an e-mail with instructions on how to access and download the audio conference MP3 file and materials by visiting My Account and selecting Order History. For audio file purchases for upcoming audio conferences, once the MP3 file is available through our site, registrants will receive an update e-mail informing them that the links are now ready.

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