Oftentimes, job evaluations involve scoring performance by non-meaningful numbers, for example, 1 to 5, with 1 being poor performance and 5 being excellent work. While scoring is tangible, consider carefully whether it captures the nuances of an individual employee’s job performance, and supplement these scores with written narratives as necessary. In the event of termination, job evaluations should tell the story of how clearly you pointed out performance issues. A comparison of different employees’ job evaluations should show that your expectations have been consistent.
Explore This IssueJuly 2012
Most employers are operating in jurisdictions in which at-will employment is the rule. Form agreements often skew that default rule, however. While the employee handbook and job descriptions are, by their nature, living documents that can be amended at the employer’s discretion, employment agreements that are not written carefully bind employer and employee alike. Accordingly, consider carefully whether an employment agreement is necessary and, if it is, what commitments you make. In some instances, employers find it is in their best interest to secure certain post-employment commitments through form agreements, such as limitations on the employee’s ability to compete with the employer (i.e., covenant not to compete), solicit the employer’s patients or reveal confidential information. The extent to which such commitments—often called “restrictive covenants”—are enforceable depends on the state in which the practice is located, or possibly the state in which the employee resides, if they are different. If you feel that enforcement of post-employment continuing obligations is a priority, then you should outline those terms at the time of hiring.
Keep in mind that your practice’s needs and legal requirements are bound to change as time passes. As such, your employment-related documents should be reviewed on a regular basis.
Steven M. Harris, Esq., is a health care attorney and a member of the law firm McDonald Hopkins, LLC. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reprinted with permission from the American College of Rheumatology.