Q & A Session – Refusing to Sign 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 was rated “effective” in a performance appraisal done last year and was prevented from receiving a performance bonus from the bonus pool. Can an employee refuse to sign a performance appraisal if he does not agree with it?


I think it is unwise to not sign a performance appraisal, even if you do not agree with it. Your signature merely acknowledges that you have received the appraisal. You still have grievance and Equal Employment Opportunity rights. Sometimes a refusal to sign can be perceived negatively by a grievance deciding official or an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission administrative judge.

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

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1 Comment

  1. Mr. Bransford, I partically disagree. Our agency has an automatic set of actions that begin once the employee does not sign their FY performance appraisal. Specifically, the employee is asked to draft a one-page statement outlining why they do not agree with their appraisal, citing specific examples of performance and/or actions that support their request to change the rating. That attachment is sent to the agency’s most senior rating official who then has 30 days to decide either change the rating or leave it intact. If after all of this, the employee still wishes to seek redress, EEO and grievence rights still exist. I believe we put this in place so that we could avoid costly and lengthy EEO and grievence processes which have other ramifications (oftentimes negative) for both the employee and the agency.

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