Q & A Session – Performance Objectives


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 am a supervisor at an Army medical clinic in charge of numerous civilian employees. After a recent HR issue, I was instructed to remove objectives involving “behaviors” from the employee appraisals, even though the evaluation report used by the Army requires ratings for “working relationships and communications” and “responsibility and dependability.”

Is there any specific guidance regarding the scope, content and structure of performance objectives measured in annual employee appraisals?


I do not understand the direction you received and I do not agree with it. To some extent, all performance concerns behavior. Check out the Office of Personnel Management’s regulations at 5 C.F.R. Part 430. I think the performance standard you have been asked to eliminate accurately and precisely provides notice of the expected performance levels.

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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