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What's a "Yahoo"? An Object Lesson in Employer-Employee Relations

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by Tal Burnovski Yeyni





Can you mistakenly fire employees? According to recent media reports, Yahoo apparently did.

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News about Yahoo’s mix-up were reported earlier this week in various media outlets. As it turns out, as many as 30 employees have been let go in conversations with their supervisors but were later told that they were simply on the lower performance scale  - and were not meant to be fired.  

Additionally, the company’s performance review system is now challenged in court by an ex-employee, who claims the rules implementing Yahoo’s Quarterly Performance Reviews (“QPR”) were vaguely drawn and communicated on a need-to-know-basis, thus making the QPR process subject to abuse.

What can employers learn from Yahoo’s reported mistakes?  

  • If you use a performance evaluation system, make sure your supervisors understand the system and its guidelines;

  • Communicate with management. A quick clarification can go a long way;

  • Do not underestimate managerial training. Performance reviews can be very helpful or ridiculously awkward, and as we see here, may possibly generate lawsuits. Educate your supervisors about the proper way to conduct performance reviews.   

  • And do not fire employees you do not intend to fire!


Tal Burnovski Yeyni is an Employer Defense Attorney at our firm. 

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