Government agency labels employee performance reviews as discriminatory

Those of you who read the transcript of a recent Carolina Journal Radio interview with State Auditor Beth Wood might remember this passage:

We’ve looked at the performance evaluation system in the state of North Carolina. We have about 88,000 employees now, and we find that performance evaluations are not being done fairly and accurately. And when I say fairly — we have about 81 percent of our state employees who are getting “exceeds expectations” and “outstanding.” In the for-profit world, that percentage is about 28 to 32 percent. So we don’t pay the highest salaries, we don’t pay the best salaries, and yet we are that much better than the for-profit world? So that really doesn’t make sense.

It’s not just North Carolina state government that seems to have a problem with employee performance reviews. Scott Greer of The Daily Caller identifies one federal agency that wants to avoid them altogether.

One government agency has decided that the results of employee ratings are too discriminatory, and eliminated the process entirely. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced on Monday that it will now award all employees the highest rating regardless of performance reviews.

The CFPB, which oversees transactions in the financial sector for the federal government, decided to no longer conduct employee reviews because there were just too many apparent “significant disparities” between the races, ages, and locations of its employees.

According to American Banker, this new policy is set to cost over $5 million dollars, as it will now pay employees as if they received the highest evaluation score. The previous system ranked staff on their performance from a scale ranging from one to five, with five being the best score a CFPB staffer could receive after a review of their work on the job.

This development comes right before the agency is scheduled for a Wednesday hearing to investigate allegations that it practiced retaliatory actions towards certain employees. News reports have circulated that the alleged “discriminations” were race-based and that the CFPB implemented their new policies to alleviate that problem.

CFPB Director Richard Cordray explained in a staff email that the change was apparently not related to the previous race-based allegations.

“”We have determined that there were broad-based disparities in the way performance ratings were assigned across our employee base in both 2012 and 2013,” Cordray stated in the email. “These differences indicate a systemic disadvantage to various categories of employees that persisted across divisions, offices, and other employee characteristics.”

Some have found this new policy to be misguided and believe it to be an overcorrection that will ultimately punish top performers in the department.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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