One of the first policy changes that the current CEO of Yahoo, Marissa Mayer, introduced was a quarterly employee review process. Every single employee at the company is rated on a scale of 1 to 5. Since this policy was initiated in 2012, hundreds of employees have been fired for poor performance reviews.
On Monday, February 1st, a former editor who oversaw the Yahoo shopping, autos and homes in Sunnyvale, California, filed a lawsuit in the Federal District Court in San Jose, California. Gregory Anderson, who was fired in November of 2014, states that managers routinely manipulate the employee review process numbers in order to let go of hundreds of personnel for no other reason than to meet certain financial goals. Anderson states that these cuts amount to nothing more than illegal “layoffs” . Anderson was terminated along with about 600 other low scoring personnel that month.
California law clearly states that when companies layoff more than 50 persons in a 30 day period from a single location, they are required to give employees at least 60 days notice. A federal law requires advance notice if employers lay off more than 500 people from the business in general, not just a single location. Yahoo gave no notice to employees at all, even though they terminated the employment of more than 1,100 persons in late 2014 and early 2015.
Violations of either law carry some stiff penalties; back pay for whatever time the company failed to give proper notice for, as well as a possible $500 fine per employee.
The lawsuit claims that many managers are forced to give numerous employees poor scores, regardless of the employees actual job performance. In some cases, ratings given by front-line managers were changed by their superiors who never met the employee they were rating nor any real knowledge of what the employee did or did not do. Employees are not given their actual review, their score, the name of the manager who submitted the final score and there is no appeal process.
Anderson claims that his firing occurred after he took a short leave of absence to attend a Knight-Wallace Fellowship. Although his leave had been approved by two senior executives, his boss’ supervisor, Megan Liberman, called him on November 10th to inform him that he was among the lowest 5 percent in employee performance reviews and that he was being terminated, even though he was on a leave of absence at the time.
Anderson states that he was terminated due to company problems that had nothing to do with his performance. He had received glowing reviews before his leave of absence. He is also claiming gender discrimination, stating that Yahoo routinely favors women in terms of hiring, promotions and layoffs.
Source: New York Times