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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 11289
Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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I have been with my company years and have had successful

Customer Question

I have been with my company for 10 years and have had successful performance reviews all of those years except for one when I was rated exceptional, however was during the year we did not receive a pay increase. However on last review, I was not satisfied with some of the comments that my Director made, so I prepared a three page rebuttal, knowing that he would not change his stance, but wanted to have it in my file. This month (January) what we call our "mid-year" check-in on our goals, I was told that if this would have been the end of year, my rating would have been "Needs Improvement". I have given almost on daily and weekly basis a host of different things to do in addition to my regular duties which now comes right at our budget season. I have been put under so much pressure that I find myself triple dotting my "I's" and crossing my "T's" which is causing me even more anxiety in form of upset stomach and higher than normal blood pressure. I feel the pressure I am encountering is affecting my ability to perform my work. I am a 60 year old Black male with needing just two and half more years before being able to retire. I have been threatened with corrective action which would basically eliminate my chances of transferring to another department within the Organization. I have been told that maybe my time with this particular department has reached a point and maybe I should look at other departments of the Organization. However, with a corrective action in my file those opportunities will go away and possibly, my job and my retirement opportunities. What advice can you give me? Thanks, ***** ***** - Durham, NC
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 10 months ago.

Hello and thank you for entrusting me to assist you. My name is ***** ***** I will do everything I can to answer your question.

This is a difficult situation because employers have tremendous latitude when it comes to evaluating their employees. Since employment is "at will" absent an agreement to the contrary and as such can be terminated at any time, with or without good cause, it would make little sense to regulate the review process, as employers don't even need to conduct reviews in order to deny transfers or even terminate employment. The only exception to the above is if you can prove that you are being targeted because of a legally protected trait, such as your race, religion or gender. However, you would need affirmative evidence to this effect. The fact that you simply disagree with your negative review or up to this point had positive reviews does not prove that your employer is targeting you because of a legally protected trait. This sort of thing is never proven by process of elimination.

If you do believe that your employer's motivation is a legally protected trait such as your race (you mention your race, which causes me to believe you may suspect this), your recourse would be to file a complaint with the EEOC. The EEOC will investigate and put pressure on your employer to change its negative evaluation if it finds cause to believe you were negatively evaluated because of your race or due to some other legally protected trait. The EEOC will also give you the option to sue if it finds cause to believe there is discrimination.

But beyond framing this as an illegal discrimination issue, you would not have any legal recourse and your only option is to attempt to reason with your employer.

I hope that you find this information helpful and am genuinely sorry if it is not exactly what you were hoping to hear. Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.

If you do not require any further assistance, please be so kind as to provide a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you. Very best wishes moving forward.

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