WHEN MANAGERS EVALUATE BASED ON ONLY A SAMPLE OF YOUR WORK.
Pass this on to Unit Members: Managers cannot legally just select a few cases or days you worked on during the year to write your annual evaluation. The law, regulations and lots of union contracts contain rules managers must follow to ensure the sample is reasonable and representative. For example, the U. S. Merit Systems Protection Board has issued final decisions addressing what constitutes a legally adequate sample of an employee’s work:
- While an agency is not required to provide an accounting of every item of work in order to prove unacceptable performance with respect to a critical element with a percent requirement, the agency must, at a minimum, establish some methodology for selecting the examples of alleged unacceptable performance so that a reasonable person might conclude that the appellant’s performance fell below the critical element’s percent standard. Ryerson, 35 MSPR 123.
- However, the Board has required the agency, at a minimum, to establish some objective, systematic method for selecting examples of alleged unacceptable performance so that a reasonable person might conclude that the employee’s performance fell below the percentage standard. . . .Because the agency has not shown that it established a systematic method for evaluating the appellant’s performance based on a sufficient sample of the appellant’s work, we find that the agency has failed to prove its charge against the appellant. Thus, we conclude that the agency has failed to support its removal of the appellant by a preponderance of the evidence. Bowling,47 MSPR 379
- In reaching this conclusion, we note that, under some circumstances, an agency may establish that an appellant failed to satisfy a percent requirement for a critical element by examining a random sample of the appellant’s work, rather than all of the work performed during the period in question. . . . In the present case, however, the agency did not establish that the documents it examined constituted a random sample of appellant’s work. Player, 32 MSPR 448.
- The Board has also mentioned the need for “sufficient” samples. Although we will not go into the details here, suffice it to say that not only must a sample be randomly chosen to meet the commonly accepted rules of systematic numerical analysis, but it also must be large enough. (But, if you feel up to it, we recommend you take a look at one site that offers a free calculatorfor determining what the size of a sample of work should be. If that is confusing, start with this one. )
- Although this method of selecting the sampleof appointments appears to be objective and systematic, the agency failed to show that its use of those samples was appropriate….instead of the 15-appointment sample that Wilson testified should have been used during a 90-day period, Terraz used a 38-appointment sample. It is axiomatic that increasing the size of a sample will increase the probability that an appointment with an error is included. Thus, the fact that the appellant committed more than five errors… in a 38-appointment sample does not show that she was Less Than Fully Successful. Accordingly, even if the agency used sampling to measure the appellant’s performance, it failed to establish that its method for selecting the examples of work was objective or systematic. Yolanda M. Gould-Glaspy, DA-0432-17-0340-I-1 (2017
“Objective,” Systematic,” “Random,” “Sufficient,” “Reasonable,” “Appropriate,” etc. are criteria that a manager must be able to prove if s/he chooses to only base your annual appraisal on a sample of work. If you feel your manager has not done this, then talk to a union rep who can get access to these and other rules and precedents that can help you improve your annual appraisal score.