Glassdoor, the website, boldly claims that 83% of job seekers in the United States read its reviews. Unfortunately many of these reviews are either patently false, skewed in retribution by disgruntled ex-employees, or written by interviewees who simply-didn’t get hired.
If you are an employer, consider yourself warned.
Glassdoor is a website where anonymous employees and former employees comment on a company’s workplace – sharing information on topics such as salary levels, workplace policies, office politics, and much more. Glassdoor recently announced the company will be acquired by Japanese human resources company Recruit Holdings for $1.2 billion in cash.
This statistic alone should encourage business owners to familiarize themselves with their current Glassdoor profile. In an increasingly competitive labor market, companies should understand that negative Glassdoor reviews could adversely affect hiring. Also, negative reviews can have other harmful impacts such as spooking investors or damaging brand value.
Unfortunately, there is not much that you can do to remove negative reviews. The site purportedly screens content to weed out offensive or confidential information, but often times the information posted is blatantly false. In the case of false information, employers can flag reviews and seek to have them removed by Glassdoor staff.
Recent lawsuits filed against the company have been granted class status, some have been resolved and others pending. Glassdoor however doesn’t hold all the cards based on the First Amendment. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco ruled last year saying Glassdoor reviewers have a “limited right to speak anonymously.” This could serve as a precedent to push future cases to a resolution, and potentially unmask anonymous users who post damaging reviews about a company. It will certainly be an uphill climb, as Glassdoor has successfully defended its position and likely will prevail as law firms will be reticent to pursue expensive cases.
One way to potentially avoid negative reviews is to include non-disparagement provisions in your employment agreements, severance agreements, and/or handbooks. Although these provisions can be difficult to enforce and Glassdoor reviews are often anonymous, employees will think twice before posting anything if they have fear of legal action.