Evaluation and appeal options

The annual performance evaluation is an opportunity for you to receive formal performance feedback from your supervisor. This process includes evaluating job performance, an annual performance cycle, deadlines for completing the evaluation, performance ratings (“extraordinary achiever,” “high achiever,” “achiever” or “fair performer") and more. 

Appealing your performance evaluation

If you have concerns about the performance evaluation, you can put your issues in writing to the reviewer within 10 workdays of receipt of your performance evaluation. You should specify the areas of disagreement and your desired changes. The reviewer may discuss the issues further with you and/or your supervisor and should respond to you in writing within five workdays.

Use of this process does not automatically extend the 30-calendar-day timeframe to initiate a formal grievance. 

Several options are available for classified employees who wish to appeal their performance plan or evaluation ratings or comments. These options are listed below beginning with the least formal and ending with the most formal. In addition, classified staff may enter an appeal regarding a pay action.

For more information about the annual performance review process and appealing a review, contact VCU Employee Relations at emprel@vcu.edu or (804) 828-1510.


Discussion with supervisor

This is the least formal but most effective option. It provides an opportunity for both parties to discuss the issues and work toward a mutually agreeable resolution.


Sometimes, a difficult discussion may require assistance in the form of mediation. During this process, the employee and supervisor discuss the evaluation with the help of two trained mediators in a confidential setting. Both parties are given an opportunity to state their concerns and express their points of view. The goal of mediation is for the parties to reach mutual agreement or to leave the process with a greater understanding of the issues. If a grievance has been initiated about an evaluation (see below), it may be put “on hold” by entering into mediation and signing a “hold” agreement.

Written rebuttal

An employee can attach a written rebuttal to his/her evaluation explaining the areas of concern and/or disagreement. This action documents the concerns but does not change the evaluation.

Written appeal

The employee puts his/her concerns in writing to the reviewer within 10 workdays of receipt of the performance evaluation. The employee should specify the areas of disagreement and desired changes. The reviewer may discuss the issues further with the employee and/or supervisor and should respond in writing within five workdays to the employee. Ultimately, the reviewer may make specific changes to the evaluation comments or ratings or may uphold the evaluation as originally written. Use of this process does not automatically extend the 30-calendar day timeframe to initiate a formal grievance.


This option is the most formal and adversarial. An employee has 30 calendar days from receipt of the evaluation to file a grievance with his/her immediate supervisor. The supervisor has five workdays to provide a written response to the grievance. Although employees may grieve a performance evaluation through the management response steps, the issue qualifies for a hearing only if the employee can show that there has been a misapplication of the performance appraisal policy or that the evaluation was conducted in an arbitrary or capricious manner. Complaints of discrimination or retaliation as they relate to performance evaluations also may be grievable. It is important to note that an administrative hearing officer can only grant a reevaluation; a specific rating or comment cannot be ordered. Grievances must be reported to the Human Resource Employee Relations office for monitoring and record keeping.

More information
For more information on these options or to schedule a mediation session see Conflict Resolution or call (804) 828-1510 or email emprel@vcu.edu.

Classified staff pay appeals

VCU encourages managers, supervisors and employees to communicate about pay actions. If a classified employee has concerns about a pay action, he or she may discuss them informally with the dean/department head. If the employee does not resolve these issues informally with the dean/department head, he or she may put the specific concerns in writing to the dean/department head within 10 work days of learning about a pay decision. The dean/department head should respond in writing to the employee within 10 work days. The dean/department head may either reconsider the pay decision or provide a business-related justification for the decision in consultation with the employee’s supervisor. At the conclusion of an appeal, the dean/department head should submit copies of the appeal and response to the Director of Employee Relations. The documentation will not become a part of the employee’s official human resource file.

Use of the appeal process does not automatically extend the 30-calendar-day timeframe to initiate a formal classified employee grievance. Employee Relations specialists are available to assist the employee in developing an appeal and to assist the manager in preparing a response.

Please call (804) 828-1510 or email emprel@vcu.edu.