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Dispute about underperformance

The employee was working a policy role and disputed a rating of 'developmental' at the end of the performance management cycle provided by a new team leader. She has been in the role for four years and in all previous three performance management cycles had received a rating of 'fully effective'.

The Merit Protection Commissioner recommended that the rating be set aside and a rating of fully effective substituted for it. The reasons were:

  • The process to manage the employee's performance had substantially failed to comply with the agency's enterprise agreement and performance management policy with respect to the feedback provided to the employee during the performance cycle. This included a lack of early notification of areas of concern and reasonable opportunity for the employee to address the issues and improve her performance.
  • The manager described the employee's alleged behavioural deficits in very strong terms (including using language that was personal and subjective) but provided no indicative incidents as evidence and no documentary evidence.
  • The employee's performance expectations were expressed as the capability framework for the employee's classification level and were not tailored to her role.
  • The evidence relating to the quality of the employee's written work was mixed but on balance not sufficient to establish that the employee failed to meet the standard of work expected of an employee at her classification level.