By law your signature on a performance review or on a disciplinary document only indicates that you were given the document. It does not mean that you agree with the contents. By not signing, you indicate your displeasure with the contents of the document but nothing else. In many organizations, people who refuse to sign their performance reviews are considered to be troublemakers, uncooperative, and not team players. Even if you hate every word of your review, it is better to sign the document and acknowledge that you did receive the review, and then determine how to express your opinion on the contents of the review.
Most employers have procedures in place for employees to fight or at least express their opinions about their performance reviews. These procedures can be anything from setting up a meeting with someone in human resources and having the employee fill out a form indicating what parts of the review are in question, to having the manager of the supervisor who wrote the performance review look into why the supervisor and the employee are not on the same page. Employees should follow these company procedures in addition to writing a rebuttal of the review.
Usually an employer will not alter a written performance review, no matter what evidence the employee brings in to show that the review was in error. It is possible that an employer may adjust a monetary raise that goes with the review. However, the usual response to an employee’s complaint about a performance review is merely a nod of the head.
Because of this, if you are confronted with a bad review, you must do two things.
1. Determine if the reason behind the poor review is discriminatory, using the EEOC discrimination bases mentioned in Chapter 8. If you feel that the poor review is based on discrimination, you should communicate that to the human resources department and the manager of the supervisor who wrote the review.
2. Write a rebuttal to the review that includes the reasons why you feel the performance review is in error. If you feel that there is discrimination at the root of the poor review, you should include this in the rebuttal.