Google, like other enlightened corporations, makes its workers to routinely rank each other and forces the scores to match a bell curve. The employees who are placed at the wrong end of the bell curve risk termination. That's stressful enough—now imagine your CEO personally meddling.
The Irish Times reports former Google manager Rachel Berthold—who worked in the company's Irish enclave—just won her suit against the company for unfair dismissal in 2011. Google will have to pay her around $150,000 in a court-mandated settlement to compensate Berthold for the c-suite fuckery:
In her evidence to the tribunal last March Ms Berthold had claimed Google had a "unique" system of comparing performance of staff groups worldwide, in which each unit's ratings were assessed by their likeness to a template "bell curve".
Because of this, she said staff were ranked from one to five and someone at Google always had to get a low score "of 2.9", so the unit could match the bell curve. She said senior staff "calibrated" the ratings supplied by line managers to ensure conformity with the template and these calibrations could reduce a line manager's assessment of an employee, in effect giving them the poisoned score of less than three.
Irish court documents detail Schmidt's role in the score alteration:
She attended calibration meetings and she was asked to calibrate employees on the team and she would have a score for everyone. She would have given a rating of 3.5 at meetings and this exceeded expectations. A manager who did not know an employee could suggest a lower score for an employee. During 2008 she gave a member of her team a rating of 3.5 after she had gone through the calibration process. The claimant was at level 6 and this employee was at level 3 or 4. She noticed on a template that this score was changed to 3.3 and she did not know who did this. As the respondent had a bell curve system in place scores had to be reduced. CEO level in the respondent altered the score and the template affected employees scores from CEO level down.
Emphasis added. It was more important for the bell curve to remain bell-y and curvy than for an employee to get a fair review. Remember: the most important thing about Eric Schmidt is that the only person who gets treated like Eric Schmidt is Eric Schmidt.