Tips for Fighting False Allegations About Your Job Performance
I’ve had this tactic used against me and have seen it used against other Black employees. In one case, a Black male was complaining about discrimination and sexual harassment, in another case, a Black manager was the victim of retaliation for complaining about racially insensitive remarks made by a White manager, and, in my case, I participated (truthfully) in both internal and external investigations about these race-related issues. So, retaliation—among other things—was the company’s response to me, when I came up for a promised promotion.
I’d like to give you some quick tips on dealing with false attempts to slander your reputation, regarding your work ethic. These things worked well for me.
--Quote from performance evaluations. Use all relevant comments about your job performance that show you have a pattern of successfully and professionally performing your duties. Don’t forget to pull out quotes that speak to your personality/temperament at work. For instance, you could quote from a recent performance review where you are credited with being patient and flexible, which contradicts a sudden and false accusation that you are rigid and demanding.
--Print up copies of emails or cards that speak to your job performance, especially kudos from clients. This will also demonstrate you have a pattern of successfully and professionally performing your duties and that staff are aware of your positive contributions to your projects/assignments.
--Get signed statements from coworkers that show you are successfully performing your duties. If possible, get your coworkers to have the statements notarized.
--Print up requests for you to work with other staff – why would you be invited onto projects if it were known that you were underperforming?
--Ask specific questions about all blanket statements about your job performance. For instance, do not let someone accuse you of being rude without asking for examples and situations where you’ve supposedly shown this behavior.
--If someone is suggesting you have a pattern of exhibiting poor behavior or poor performance, ask (in writing) why this issue is just being brought to your attention and why you were not offered any suggestions for improving your performance. Remember, if you are not told of performance issues, and are, therefore, led to believe that there are no issues, you can’t accurately gauge your performance and live up to the expectations of your position. So, the onus for the alleged issue being a so-called continuing problem is on your supervisor/manager because they did not inform you of any alleged problems at work.