Workers Need Online Complaint Forums
It’s wise and just for websites to allow ticked-off workers to rate their supervisors, complain about their bad behavior, and name names. Pro or con?
Pro: A Conduit to Job Satisfaction
It is no secret that happy employees exhibit higher levels of productivity, loyalty, and innovation. The recipe for ensuring a happy workforce is also widely known. Numerous surveys demonstrate that having a good boss ranks as the most important factor in keeping employees happy at work.
Despite this, the vast majority of workers are dissatisfied with their jobs. The Gallup Organization has reported that only about 30 percent of employees feel engaged at work.
Far too many managers have been either unable or unwilling to ensure that their employees remain happy with their jobs. A Zogby International survey found that 49 percent of the U.S. workforce reports having been bullied at work or having witnessed workplace bullying.
Websites that enable both employees and employers to evaluate potential managers are one of the most effective ways to ensure a positive and healthy work environment for workers and to avoid hiring toxic people who would poison the work environment.
The ease in sharing and accessing information about managers will also help deter abusive behavior and persuade bosses that it is in their best interest to treat their subordinates as well as they treat their own supervisors.
Professional, respectful, and non-libelous "boss rating" websites will soon become accepted as legitimate career resources for both job seekers and employers, and they will enable companies to cultivate the kind of healthy and innovative workplaces that can maintain a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
Con: A Pandora’s Box
Offering disgruntled employees an online forum to rant about their bosses is more likely to stoke anger than relieve stress. Given such incidents of workplace violence as the recent shooting rampage in Manchester, Conn., which left nine people dead, this not only is unwise but can also be downright dangerous.
WorkRant, BossBitching, JobVent, and the like claim to be a form of workplace therapy. These sites show they are anything but.
Most contributors are clearly unhappy, unsuccessful people who hide behind the anonymity afforded them by the Internet to defame co-workers and bosses—often violating their privacy along the way.
Typical examples include these pearls of wisdom: "I wish his family was tied up to watch him slowly f____ing die" and "i f____ing hate my boss so much i want him to die of cancer."
Bad enough, but when it strays into naming names, contributors to these sites open themselves up to expensive litigation for defamation and privacy violations.
The sites may be asked to turn over identifying information, such as IP addresses and e-mail addresses. If they refuse, they face costly legal proceedings. If they comply, they will expose their contributors to litigation. Either way, the company loses and faces a future similar to that of Juicy Campus, an infamous college campus gossip site that shut down last year.
The supposed raison d’être of these sites is helping workers identify companies to seek out or avoid. Yet given the anonymous, hostile nature of the sites, the reviews are worthless.