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Lashon Hara and Performance Appraisals


Rabbi Elchanan Lewis

27 Av 5764
I work in a corporate company. As a manager I am required to perform performance appraisals. I felt a bit uncomfortable when my team had no Jews but by keeping it completely objective I thought to avoid the issue of Lashon Hara. However, now I have a Jewish staff member and I want to make sure that I will not be breaching any halachic guidelines (Lashon Hara) in doing a performance appraisal. Can you please help me there?
I'm not quite sure I have understood your question. In any event these are some rules that can come handy dealing with issues of this sort. Whenever there's a loss of money or damages that you can prevent – you must do so even by means of speaking Lashon Hara. That’s why you can inform a person who is contemplating of entering a business partnership that the future partner is corrupt and will eventually cause him damages, professional appraisal is not different. All the above is applicable only if these conditions are fulfilled: 1. You know the information first hand. 2. Make sure you interpret the evidence correctly. 3. Try to speak with the person and check if it can be resolved without the need to tell others about what you know. 4. Be meticulous – no exaggerating. 5. Your intention must be pure, to save others from damage. 6. There's no way to solve the problem without Lashon Hara. 7. The outcome towards the person you speak against, will not be worse that what he deserves. (for more details look up Chafetz Chaim Chapter 10)
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