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He asks me to put it directly into the manager-only forms and then he signs his name to it. I presume there is no mention of my involvement in this activity whatsoever. I suspect my peers have no idea I am doing this. My own performance assessment (last year) read as if someone else besides him had written it.

In his defense, this started when he had a ridiculous amount of direct reports, but that is no longer the case. And, now that he has the time, I'm not sure he has the interest to observe and evaluate the performance of his direct reports in any meaningful way.

Some thoughts:

  • It is unethical to sign your name to someone else's work. But, there is no structure in place to inform, without authority, the performance appraisal process.
  • It seems reasonable that an employee should know his judge.

  • It seems reasonable that someone who is more or less unobserved and autonomous, and repeatedly consulted for this kind of input should be at a higher level than myself.

I'm unsure how to face this crisis/opportunity. Suggest creation of a structure for performance appraisal 'advice'? And insist my name is on it? Simply cooperate and ask for the promotion? Look for another job?

closed as too broad by gnat, Retired Codger, sf02, solarflare, Twyxz Mar 13 at 10:40

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    If your boss can't be bothered to to assess the performance of his employees ( including you ), why would you want to continue working for him? – sf02 Mar 11 at 19:16
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    What would happen if HR and/or your boss's boss learned of this? – Dan Pichelman Mar 11 at 19:51
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    Respectfully, I'd quibble with your assertion that it's unethical to sign your name to someone else's work. Physicians sign off on the work of physician assistants all the time. I sign contracts written by my attorney. Etc. As a matter of fact, I'd put money on you having done so this week, when you last clicked through a license agreement. I'd also put money on you not having read that agreement in detail, and that raises an interesting question: Is your boss reading these appraisals before signing? Why or why not? – Bill Horvath Mar 12 at 6:48
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    @BillHorvath You are correct. Signing his name on it basically says he endorses it. Which means, he SHOULD read, understand, and agree with it. – Gregory Currie Mar 12 at 8:55
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tl;dr: Absolutely, positively, never do anything illegal for your boss. Don't do unethical things for your boss. Report breaches of personal information. Your employee handbook and policies, along with the law, are your guide. If you feel strongly about this, use an anonymous line/official reporting mechanism if it protects you from retribution. Don't trust HR, they're there for the company.

He asks me to put it directly into the manager-only forms and then he signs his name to it. I presume there is no mention of my involvement in this activity whatsoever. I suspect my peers have no idea I am doing this. My own performance assessment (last year) read as if someone else besides him had written it.

This is their decision to make, not yours. You definitely need to cover your ass though by confirming, in writing, that they want you to do this. If they refuse, you need to note the date/time of your request, and what was said. The access granted alone is unlikely to protect you from HR. They will protect the company, not you. They would probably spin it on you as a technique they've developed, and now you're on the hook for insubordination.

In his defense, this started when he had a ridiculous amount of direct reports, but that is no longer the case. And, now that he has the time, I'm not sure he has the interest to observe and evaluate the performance of his direct reports in any meaningful way.

Totally irrelevant. Don't come to the defense of someone who puts you in a compromising position.

It is unethical to sign your name to someone else's work. But, there is no structure in place to inform, without authority, the performance appraisal process. It seems reasonable that an employee should know his judge.

It's not unethical at all unless there is a requirement that they, and they alone, do it. It can be considered part of their duties to have completed, not necessarily (albeit conventionally) by them. Most of these things are owned by the company, and not the person who wrote them.

It seems reasonable that someone who is more or less unobserved and autonomous, and repeatedly consulted for this kind of input should be at a higher level than myself.

Sure, but not really your problem.

I'm unsure how to face this crisis/opportunity. Suggest creation of a structure for performance appraisal 'advice'? And insist my name is on it? Simply cooperate and ask for the promotion? Look for another job

You don't want to have your name on it because without a title, it'll cause a row among your coworkers, and it will most likely be you who eats the shit pie. CYA, and carry on. Cooperate with HR if it ever comes to light, but avoid directly placing blame on your boss. You were merely doing your duty as their employee to the best of your ability.

You go to HR for things that are illegal, go against the business' code of conduct (or handbook) in a specific way, or would put the company's reputation at great risk. This article may help you.

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Boss has me ghostwrite his performance assessment of my peers. He asks me to put it directly into the manager-only forms and then he signs his name to it.

One of the key responsibilities of a people manager is the evaluation of the team member's skills including but not limited: to writing performance reviews, hiring new people, mentoring people that underperform, and firing people that do not improve. It's seem odd (and lazy) to me that a manager would have a direct report ghost write his evaluations for the other direct reports.

Why not have each team member submit their self evaluation, select 3 peers that will submit reviews on this person and the manager can base his reviews off of the self and peer evaluations?

I'm not sure he has the interest to observe and evaluate the performance of his direct reports in any meaningful way.

Then why is he the manager of the team and why aren't you the manager? A manager that can't be bothered to observe the performance of his direct reports is a bad manager full stop.

What could you do now?:

1. Approach HR or your boss' boss about your boss' behavior.

2. Look for a new job with a better manager.

3. Do nothing and keep doing your boss' job for him.

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Boss has me ghostwrite his performance assessment of my peers

Not really unethical so long as he provides the material to you on what you should write. However, if you're entirely choosing what to write, and how to write, and your boss has no input and only signs whatever you write, then yes, there may be a question of ethics. For example, you could write poorly for someone on the team you do not like or want to promote above you. So long as you do not see any PII or access private records, I do not see a ethic concern.

My own performance assessment (last year) read as if someone else besides him had written it.

Now this is the most concerning part. It's not unusual for the boss to ask you to rate yourself, then he looks it over to sign. However, again, if your boss doesn't read it over, and simply signs whatever you write, then yes, there is a ethical concern.

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