There are several reasons an employee may want to write a rebuttal letter to his or her manager. The most common reasons are for a poor performance rating, an accusation of a policy violation or wrongful discharge.
When any of these things happen, the employee may feel angry and defensive. Before considering sending a letter, it’s important for the employee to gain control of his or her emotions, calm down and regain clear-headedness before writing a well-though-out letter that clearly explains their position.
It is also important that the appraisal or disciplinary action be unfair. If the negative job appraisal is true, such as the employee’s sales figures have fallen in the past 12 months, or the employee has systematically broken office rules, there is no point in sending a rebuttal letter. It will make the employee look like an inflexible and argumentative troublemaker.
The first thing the employee should do is research the company procedures for disputing a performance appraisal or other accusation. If they can’t find the policy, they can ask the human resources department for the proper steps for filing a rebuttal.
Many companies and organizations have procedures that need to be followed in order for the rebuttal to be taken seriously. This may include a time frame for submitting a rebuttal and a list of people in the company or organization that should get a copy. If possible, the employee should get the rebuttal procedure in writing.
If the appraisal was a disciplinary action against the employee and he or she feels the action was discriminatory or that they were unfairly dismissed, they should check labor laws to see if the manager has acted illegally in the disciplinary action.
The employee should gather documents that provide proof of their position such as previous positive performance appraisals, positive disciplinary statements, a list of successfully completed projects and any commendations.
These documents will support the employee’s side of the appraisal. The letter should list specific points in the evaluation that are being rebutted. These may include job skills, attendance, interpersonal relationships and performance.
An effective rebuttal letter should:
• Be brief, clearly presented and accurate
• Acknowledge any positive comments mentioned in the evaluation
• Not be accusatory or negative in tone
• Mention any past or future positive interaction with the evaluator
• Acknowledge suggestions given
• Have no grammar or spelling mistakes
• Request that the rebuttal be attached to the original evaluation
Here is a sample rebuttal letter. It should be written in formal business-letter style and sent by certified mail, so the sender is sure the letter was received. It is recommended that the employee wait a day after drafting the letter before sending. This will give the employee an opportunity to make sure the letter does not have any incendiary language or put the recipient on the defensive.
Sample Rebuttal Letter to Your Manager
City, State, Zip Code
City, State, Zip Code
Dear Manager’s Name:
This letter is a formal response to the work performance evaluation you gave me on DATE. I appreciate that you recognized the energy and enthusiasm I have for my work and acknowledged my dedication to Name of Company.
You mentioned in my evaluation that my sales numbers have gone down in the last 12 months compared to the same time last year.
I agree this is true, however, since I was in the hospital for one month and recovering with physical therapy for the two following months during the last year, the reason my sales figures dropped is because I was able to work only nine months last year.
I believe it’s only fair that this also be mentioned in my evaluation. I have enclosed a letter from my doctor and a copy of my hospital report.
As it stands, the evaluation gives the impression that I didn’t work as hard during the past 12 months, and this simply was not the case. If my sales figures are compared to nine months of the previous year, it will be clear that the numbers are higher this year.
I am requesting that the reason my sales figures fell during the past 12 months also be included in my evaluation. If a new evaluation that fairly represents my efforts is not given, I respectfully request that this letter be attached to my official job appraisal.
I sincerely value the product I am selling for Name of Company and enjoy my work. I will continue to do my best and am willing to listen to any suggestions you may have. I would welcome a meeting to discuss the situation and hope this issue can be resolved.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Signature of Employee
Printed Name of Employee
List of enclosures: medical reports