Q & A Session – Coworker in Performance Appraisal


Ask the Lawyer received the following question (paraphrased for easier reading and clarity) from a reader on a legal matter that might be of interest to the entire audience.


I had the understanding that performance appraisals are always done one-on-one with my supervisor and that all appraisals are considered private. My current supervisor wants our team leader to sit in on the performance appraisals even though she has no supervising authority. I believe they may claim the exception “the information is disclosed to an agency employee who maintains the record or has a ‘need to know’ in the performance of his duties.” Is this legal?


You have answered your question by citing the exception. Team leaders are technically not supervisors but they do direct work. Therefore, there is at least an argument that they have a need to know about their team members’ performance assessments.


Bill Bransford is managing partner of Shaw Bransford & Roth PC.

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About Author

Debra Roth

Debra L. Roth is a partner at the law firm Shaw Bransford & Roth, a federal employment law firm in Washington, D.C. She is general counsel to the Senior Executives Association and the Federal Managers Association, host of the “FEDtalk” program on Federal News Radio, and a regular contributor to Federal News Radio’s “Federal Drive” morning show. Email your legal questions to lawyer@federaltimes.com.

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