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Performance Appraisals: Texas

Performance Appraisals requirements for other states

Federal law and guidance on this subject should be reviewed together with this section.

Authors: Shafeeqa W. Giarratani and Kimberly King, Norton Rose Fulbright


  • Generally, Texas law does not restrict employers in communicating their opinions of employees' job performances, such as in performance appraisals, particularly when those opinions are kept confidential between management and the employee. See Employer Liability Regarding Performance Appraisals.
  • While employees may file defamation claims based on poor performance appraisals, employers have a number of defenses to such claims. See Defamation.
  • A negative reference that damages a former employee's future employment opportunity may become the basis of a defamation lawsuit. However, a Texas employer enjoys qualified immunity from such claims under certain circumstances. See Job Reference Immunity Under Texas Law.
  • A poor performance appraisal is almost never grounds for a claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress. See Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress.
  • The Texas Commission on Human Rights Act (TCHRA or Texas Labor Code, Chapter 21) prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, disability, religion, sex, national origin and age. While a poor performance appraisal, standing alone, is not a sufficient basis for a claim under the TCHRA, an employer should keep protections under the TCHRA in mind when evaluating job performance. See Performance Appraisals and Discrimination.
  • Texas law prohibits retaliation against employees who engage in protected activities. See Performance Appraisals and Retaliation.
  • Failure to give employees accurate performance appraisals could give rise to employer liability for negligent retention. See Negligent Retention and Supervision.
  • Performance appraisals should document an employee's performance in an accurate and straightforward manner. See Documenting Performance Reviews.