Employee Performance Evaluation Laws in California | In Details


Career Consultant & Blog Writer

Published: January 2, 2024

Employee performance evaluation laws in California pertain to the legal framework surrounding the assessment of employee performance. Key aspects include:

  1. Anti-Discrimination Laws
  2. Privacy Rights
  3. Documentation Requirements
  4. Termination and Legal Obligations
  5. Employee Input
  6. Transparency and Consistency
  7. Training for Managers
  8. Diversity and Inclusion

Employee performance evaluation is a crucial aspect of managing a workforce. In the state of California, where employment laws are robust and constantly evolving, understanding the legalities surrounding performance evaluations is paramount. This article delves into the intricacies of employee performance evaluation laws in California, providing employers with insights into compliance and best practices.

Overview Of Employee Performance Evaluation Laws California

Employee performance evaluation laws in California play a crucial role in shaping the employer-employee relationship and ensuring fair and lawful workplace practices. Understanding these laws is essential for employers to conduct evaluations ethically and within the legal framework. Here’s an overview of some key aspects:

Anti-Discrimination Laws

California has stringent anti-discrimination laws. Performance evaluations must not be influenced by factors such as race, gender, age, religion, disability, or any other protected characteristic. Ensuring fairness and objectivity is paramount.

Privacy Rights

Employees in California have privacy rights, even during performance evaluations. Employers should be cautious about the information they collect and share, ensuring it is relevant to the evaluation process.

Documentation Requirements

Proper documentation is crucial. Employers are advised to maintain accurate records of performance evaluations, including feedback, improvement plans, and any disciplinary actions. This documentation serves as a defense in case of legal challenges.

Termination and Legal Obligations

If performance issues lead to termination, employers must follow legal procedures. Providing clear reasons for termination, adhering to contractual obligations, and following progressive discipline can help mitigate legal risks.

Employee Input

Employees have the right to provide input during performance evaluations. Ignoring their perspectives can lead to legal implications. Employers should encourage open communication and consider employee feedback.

Transparency and Consistency

Lack of transparency in the evaluation process can lead to dissatisfaction and legal challenges. Employers should communicate evaluation criteria clearly and apply them consistently across all employees.

Progressive Discipline

Handling performance issues through progressive discipline is both good management practice and a legal requirement. Employers should provide employees with opportunities to improve before considering termination.

Employee Rights During Evaluation

Employees have the right to know the criteria on which they are being evaluated. Clear communication of expectations promotes a fair evaluation process.

Non-Discrimination Policies

California employers must adhere to non-discrimination policies. Evaluation processes should be free from bias based on protected characteristics, ensuring equal opportunities for all employees.

The State of California STD 638

The State of California STD 638 refers to a specific form used in the context of California state employment. The term “STD” stands for Standard Form, and “638” is the form number.

Employee Performance Evaluation Laws in California

The STD 638 form is commonly associated with the State Controller’s Office in California. This form is utilized for various employment-related purposes, particularly in the areas of personnel and payroll administration. It plays a crucial role in documenting and processing different aspects of state employees’ information.

Here are some key points related to the State of California STD 638 form:

  • Employee Information: The form typically collects essential details about state employees, including their personal information, job details, and other relevant data.
  • Payroll and Compensation: STD 638 may be used to document details about an employee’s salary, benefits, and other compensation-related information. It helps in maintaining accurate payroll records.
  • Personnel Actions: The form may be employed to record various personnel actions, such as appointments, promotions, transfers, or separations. This is crucial for keeping track of changes in employment status.
  • Compliance: The use of STD 638 ensures that personnel and payroll processes align with the rules and regulations set forth by the State of California. It helps in maintaining compliance with state employment laws.
  • Documentation: As with any official form, proper documentation is vital. STD 638 serves as a record-keeping tool, ensuring that there is a comprehensive and standardized record of each employee’s relevant information.
  • State Controller’s Office: The State Controller’s Office oversees the use and implementation of the STD 638 form. It is the central authority responsible for managing financial and personnel services for the state government.

Understanding and correctly utilizing the STD 638 form is crucial for both employers and employees to ensure accurate and compliant personnel and payroll processes within the State of California. It’s advisable to refer to the official guidelines provided by the State Controller’s Office for specific instructions related to the form’s completion and submission.

STD 638 Performance Appraisal Summary

A performance appraisal summary is a document that consolidates the outcomes of an employee’s performance evaluation. It typically includes key information about the employee’s achievements, strengths, areas for improvement, and overall performance during a specific period. Here’s a breakdown of what a performance appraisal summary might encompass:

  • Employee Information: Name, job title, department, and other identifying details.
  • Performance Goals: A review of the goals set for the employee during the evaluation period.
  • Achievements: Recognition of the employee’s accomplishments and successful completion of tasks or projects.
  • Areas for Improvement: Identification of specific areas where the employee can enhance their performance or acquire additional skills.
  • Feedback and Comments: Feedback provided by supervisors or managers regarding the employee’s performance.
  • Rating or Score: A numerical or qualitative rating that summarizes the employee’s overall performance.
  • Professional Development Plan: Recommendations for training, development, or additional resources to help the employee improve.
  • Employee’s Self-Assessment: In some cases, the summary may include the employee’s self-assessment or reflections on their performance.
  • Future Goals and Expectations: Discussion of future performance expectations and potential goals for the next evaluation period.
  • Signatures: Signatures of both the employee and the evaluating supervisor, indicating that they have reviewed and discussed the appraisal.

It’s essential to note that specific forms or templates for performance appraisal summaries can vary between organizations and industries. If there is a specific “STD 638 Performance Appraisal Summary” form relevant to the State of California or a particular organization, it’s advisable to refer to the official guidelines or reach out to the relevant HR department for accurate and up-to-date information.

Rejection On Probation State Of California

Employee Performance Evaluation Laws in California

Receiving a rejection during the probationary period of employment in the State of California can be disheartening, but it’s essential to understand the circumstances surrounding such decisions and the rights of both employers and employees. Here’s an overview of the key aspects related to rejection during the probationary period in California:

At-Will Employment

California follows the at-will employment doctrine, which means that either the employer or the employee can terminate the employment relationship at any time, with or without cause, and with or without notice. This applies to both the probationary period and regular employment.

Probationary Period Purpose

The probationary period is typically a specified timeframe during which employers assess the new employee’s performance and suitability for the position. It allows employers to make an informed decision about retaining the employee long-term.

Employer’s Right to Terminate

Employers have the right to terminate an employee during the probationary period if they determine that the individual is not a good fit for the position. This decision may be based on performance issues, a lack of required skills, or other relevant factors.

Employee’s Rights

While employees have rights, including protection against certain forms of discrimination, these protections may be limited during the probationary period. It’s crucial to understand the terms and conditions of employment, including any probationary period clauses in the employment contract or offer letter.

Legal Considerations

Employers should ensure that any decision to terminate during the probationary period aligns with employment laws. Discrimination based on protected characteristics, such as race, gender, or disability, is prohibited, even during the probationary period.

Communication and Feedback

Employers are encouraged to provide clear communication and feedback during the probationary period. If there are performance concerns, employees should be made aware of them and allowed to improve.


Employers should maintain accurate documentation of performance issues or concerns that contribute to the decision to terminate during the probationary period. This documentation can serve as a record in case of legal challenges.

Appeal Process

Depending on the company’s policies, there may be an appeal process available to employees who feel they were unjustly terminated during the probationary period. Understanding and following the company’s procedures is important.

Moving Forward

If an employee is rejected during the probationary period, it’s essential to approach the situation professionally. This may include seeking feedback for personal development and considering new opportunities.

It’s advisable for both employers and employees to be aware of the terms of employment, including any probationary period clauses, and to engage in open communication throughout the initial stages of employment.

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, navigating the legal landscape of employee performance evaluation in California requires a comprehensive understanding of anti-discrimination laws, privacy rights, and documentation requirements. Employers should prioritize fairness, transparency, and compliance to foster a positive workplace environment while minimizing legal risks.