I wrote a Glassdoor review and the employer is losing their minds

A reader writes:

I wrote a Glassdoor review and the employer is absolutely losing their mind.

Recently, I left my last very chaotic workplace for new pastures. The prior workplace had leadership that would constantly go on social media and talk about how much they disliked certain employees and clients (which definitely impacted our business) and would consistently play favorites within the office. On top of that, leadership also made it clear that raises would be minimal and that they would not promote anybody from within because they felt like we weren’t qualified to tackle leadership positions (!). I began applying for jobs and recently was hired for a position making more than double the pay and with much better benefits. I am very satisfied.

I’ve always been on the fence about writing reviews on websites like Glassdoor or Indeed but for this workplace I decided to write a review on both because I felt compelled to let people know that this place is very challenging to work at. I brought up the “leadership on social media” aspect, the lack of professional growth, and the lack of financial mobility. It’s now a very highly rated review on said websites, and now leadership at that workplace has read the review and are turning it into a “witch hunt” of sorts.

My friends who still work there report that within a week of “a review” being posted (my friends do NOT know that I was the one that wrote the review, and I did not disclose this to them), leadership brought everybody into a meeting and began with an opening statement of: “We know that someone wrote a letter on a review website, so we’ll give you all time to reveal yourselves.” When nobody revealed themselves (because nobody in the room wrote the letter — I did!), they began to question each and every person in the room about their experience at the workplace and whether or not anyone had anything negative to say. Quite literally, they went around to each person questioning them on their experience working there and if they wrote the review. And then ended the meeting with, “If you have a problem with working here, you can leave.”

My friends were really uncomfortable during that exchange for obvious reasons (they recently began to look for new employment as well) and there have been whispers about who might have written the review who has left. I’ve kept silent — I don’t work there anymore, anyway. For a while it put a huge knot in my stomach, but I’m viewing this more as “out of sight, out of mind” — I spoke my truth and wrote the review, and that’s that.

However, while I know there’s nothing that I can do, I can’t shake this feeling that I put my friends and colleagues in a weird position. Any advice on how to emotionally move forward?

You didn’t put your friends and colleagues in a weird position. Your former company’s management did.

You did a normal thing that people do — you spoke honestly about your experience working at a previous company, on sites specifically designed to do that in order to help other workers.

Your former company chose to go on a witch hunt and tried to intimidate and threaten people over that. Which isn’t surprising, given what you already know about how they operate. But their unreasonable, crappy actions don’t make your actions unreasonable or crappy, just because they’re blowing up over it.

I see how you might feel awkward that your friends are speculating on who wrote the review when you’re not fessing up to it … but unless these are your lifelong best friends — unless you have the sort of close relationship where you’re spending holidays together and are godparents to each other’s children — you don’t owe it to work friends to compromise your anonymity like that. You’re allowed to contribute to anonymous review websites, and you don’t have to lose your anonymity just because their employer is pissed off about it. (I do think it would be a bit different with a very close relationship — like if your spouse still worked there and you didn’t tell even them, that would be surprising — but I’m assuming these are more like work friends. I’m also assuming you’re not saying things, “I would never write something like that — how awful.”)

Really, the best way to see this is as more of the same from your old employer: you did a normal thing for a former employee to do after escaping bad working conditions, and they’re freaking out about it rather than responding constructively (which would include ignoring it or, I don’t know, thinking about whether there’s a message there that they should pay attention to). It sucks for the people still there that they work for a company that handles honest reviews that way, but you didn’t do anything wrong and you don’t even work there anymore. You get to move on, and hopefully your old work friends will soon too.

Read an update to this letter

{ 182 comments… read them below }

  1. Pool Noodle Barnacle Pen0s*

    My chaos-demon side wants me to tell you to go edit your review to add a (very detailed) portion about the interrogation session your former coworkers were subjected to after the original review was posted.

      1. Marzipan*

        The opposite, I’d have thought – OP wasn’t there so it’d seem even more likely to be a current employee than a former one.

    1. Magenta Sky*

      That would implicate people still working there for the original review. There’s no way it couldn’t.

        1. Magenta Sky*

          That’s a poor excuse to make it worse, and possibly provoke insane management to a mass firing, or worse.

          1. Lydia*

            It is incredibly unlikely to lead to mass firings and while it’s not necessary for her to amend it, it’s also reasonable if she wants to make it REALLY clear how absolutely awful the management is for anyone considering working for them.

            1. Lydia*

              And honestly, what’s worse than a mass firing? A mass ritualistic sacrifice to the Capitalist gods as a warning to anyone thinking of stepping out of line?

              1. Reluctant Mezzo*

                I must refer you to the Laundry book by Charles Stross about mass sacrifice as a workplace activity…

            2. Belle*

              The OP wants to move on, and they should. Editing or adding more keeps them involved rather than letting it go. Clearly, their post is already attracting attention, and is doing its job. At a certain point, anger at a former employer can become obsessive. It’s not worth it. Speaking as one who was bullied and harassed out of a good job by a psycho boss. Time to move on.

    2. ferrina*

      Oh yes. Add on. I’d even make a joke-not-joke with the friends still there that maybe they should add their own reviews.

      1. tw1968*

        “Instead of addressing the root causes of the feedback, mgmt doubled down and started a witch hunt.”

    3. not a hippo*

      That sounds like a good way to bring more drama and stress upon the LW’s current co-workers.

      I’d leave it alone.

      1. GammaGirl1908*

        Agree. LW needs to stick to going “Hmmm, wow, really? That’s wild,” with a mildly quizzical expression.

      2. Lydia*

        OP has already left the job. She doesn’t have to turn up the heat, but it will have no bearing on her if she decides to edit her review to include that very telling tidbit.

        1. not a hippo*

          No but there is such thing as common courtesy. Why stir the pot? LW gets nothing out of it and the former coworkers are likely to be punished for no reason.

          1. Lydia*

            The OP would be doing a service to those who come behind her and that might be what she wants to get out of it. She may get enough out of knowing she did her best to prevent other people from being harmed in that situation. She didn’t have to leave a review, but something tells me she didn’t do it out of spite, but out of genuine desire to steer people clear of working there. That is enough of a reason.

            1. Joron Twiner*

              Would OP be doing a service to those who come behind her? She has already informed potential applicants that it’s a bad place to work. Current employees are being targeted because of her review. Adding information that only current employees would know will only make leadership certain that the review came from a current employee–it will only make it worse for current employees, and make no difference to Glassdoor readers, they already know it’s bad!

        2. Smithy*

          Without knowing the OP’s job, the OP’s need for references, and how the OP connects to these work friends in their larger professional networking pool – it also could harm the OP. Not so much in terms of what former employer’s leadership could do to the OP, but in terms to their professional network, references, etc.

          I had a job at an unpleasant/chaotic place, and when I left I did so in a way that my longest standing supervisor was irritated by and therefore would never serve as a reference for me. However, I also maintained a lot of other positive relationships with coworkers from that job, including someone who was my supervisor for about 9 months – so while I don’t have a reference from my longest standing supervisor from that job, I do have one from a supervisor and have maintained a nice professional network from those I worked with there. Doing something to also lose those things would very much so be more to lose.

          1. Lydia*

            The current management doesn’t know the OP wrote it, hence the witch hunt. And if the OP did decide to amend her review, the company STILL wouldn’t be able to trace it back to her. Would it be petty? Yes. Is it necessary? No. Will it lead to the doom and gloom and mass hysteria everyone seems to think it will lead to? Unlikely.

        3. NeutralJanet*

          It might not have a bearing on her, but considering that she wrote this letter specifically because she’s concerned about the fallout on the current staff, adding more fuel to the fire is perhaps not what she wants.

      3. Fish Microwaver*

        I love letters where someone loses their mind. Does this make me a bad person?
        This letter has everything except cheap assessment rolls – lost minds, a version of ” I will confront you by Wednesday ” and “if you don’t like it you can leave”. Congratulations on your escape LW.

        1. rebelwithmouseyhair*

          cheap assessment roles lol
          but you forgot the duck club and the boobs stuck to the railing in the freezing cold…

          1. Princess Sparklepony*

            I missed those last two. I might have read the duck club, I can’t remember – was that the one that was a sex thing? But stuck boobs! That is a new one to me.

            1. rebelwithmouseyhair*

              a sex club at work where people used quacking as some kind of code, and an unpleasant woman who flashed her boobs when very drunk at a work do and got them stuck to a railing somehow, I expect you can find them with the search function

      4. rebelwithmouseyhair*

        Which is probably why Pool Noodle Barnacle Pen0s* said “My chaos-demon side wants me to tell you to go edit your review” rather than “go edit your review”. It’s just a “wouldn’t it be exciting to watch the drama if I did this” bit of fun speculation rather than advice. It is Friday after all, we can let up a bit.

          1. rebelwithmouseyhair*

            No problem! people are so quick to criticise or get offended sometimes!!

    4. Goldenrod*

      “My chaos-demon side wants me to tell you to go edit your review to add a (very detailed) portion about the interrogation session.”

      My chaos-demon agrees with your chaos demon!

      But, honestly, OP did zero wrong. Including keeping this an absolute secret which is the smartest possible thing to do. This is pure karma – the evil managers gossiped about people, and now they are HATING being on the receiving end of it. Honestly, this makes me so happy!!

      1. RunShaker*

        My demon would say to OP to wait 4-6 months then consider updating the review about witch hunt or when more of her old co-workers leave. I’m wondering why OP is referring to them as “Leadership?” The management team are not leaders. It was the same at my last company. All managers as a group referred to themselves as “Leadership.” I always said “Managers/Management” when I was at work. Not in condescending way; kept my voice as calm, normal conversational tone but I can’t use the term “Leadership” when they were the opposite.

        1. Moira Rose*

          Glassdoor, at least, doesn’t allow you to update old reviews. LW would have to write a new one.

        2. Anon Y. Mouse*

          Membership based nonprofits and unions sometimes have executive leadership that’s elected rather than a traditional business style CEO. It’s not clear what field the LW is in, but it could be common to call management leadership in their field.

        3. Grammar Penguin*

          Military services use the word “leadership” exactly the same way as civilian organizations use “management.” Hearing it from someone who isn’t currently serving would likely roll my eyes a bit.

          1. Petty_Boop*

            So ONLY Military can use the word leadership when referring to upper management? That’s silly. I hear it often used outside of the military andI myself say it; nobody blinks an eye. What an odd thing to roll eyes about.

          2. Foagmlord*

            Big big big disagree.

            There is absolutely no reason why the word “leadership” needs to be subject to any gatekeeping whatsoever! Please point to the rule that says only the military can use that word.

            If you roll your eyes at someone using the word “leadership” in a non-military capacity, I would have to question your experience level and maturity.

            1. Cannibal Queen*

              I only use the word ‘leadership’ when the people in question behave like, you know, leaders.

          3. tamarack etc.*

            Huh, there are (empirically speaking) many organizations that speak of their senior managment as the “leadership team”. The US miltiary has no monopoly on the term, and if they want to, they really would need to inform the rest of the world. Otherwise we’re not gonna get the memo.

            1. tamarack etc.*

              (For illustration, I might say something like “ILAR leadership has decided to have weekly ice cream socials / that office space is going to be atttributed in the future strictly by seniority for academic employees / to have an all-institute retreat in the fall to gather input for strategic planning”. With ILAR = the Institute for Llama and Alpaca Research, which is my employer in this pretend example.)

              1. Princess Sparklepony*

                Before starting to read this site I never thought about a career in either teapots or llama (and alpaca) related fields. Now I so want to work in either industry. Or possibly teapots that look like llamas. Probably easier than llamas that look like teapots.

                I want the imaginary jobs!

            2. londonedit*

              It’s very common in UK education. Senior staff in schools are often referred to as ‘SLT’ which stands for ‘Senior Leadership Team’.

              1. Ellis Bell*

                Yup, it’s SLT but also commonly just abbreviated to just “leadership” as in “Leadership are rolling out the exam schedule next week” or “leadership are all in their meeting that day”.

          4. Yours sincerely, Raymond Holt*

            The word “leadership” is extremely common outside military usage, your comment makes no sense.

      2. goddessoftransitory*

        Yep, this was a “what former coworkers don’t know can’t hurt them” scenario in the sense that if they truly don’t know who wrote it, they don’t have to lie about anything. Which is why as chaos-gobliny good as it would feel, I wouldn’t add on to the review. It would just make their lives harder.

    5. LinkedIn Ghost*

      I understand the impulse, but the management there is so stupid. If I was OP I would really consider just deleting it to mitigate the ridiculous witch hunt. OP dropped a bomb and ran away while their coworkers have to deal with the fallout.

      1. Lydia*

        She didn’t drop a bomb and run away. She did what we all have encouraged many, many people to do when she left: she wrote reviews on two websites where you can leave your thoughts on an employer so other people can consider that information when looking at a job there. It seems to me this is a lot of pearl clutching for this particular situation because we know what happened after as opposed to previously when nobody had a thought to spare for the coworkers left behind by the other people who have been encouraged to write something up on Glassdoor.

      2. Not Tom, Just Petty*

        But if it comes down, management will believe that it is someone on staff. And if it comes down shortly after OP got the news, someone is going to figure out that an ex-employee would be bold enough to do it.
        Posting it was fine on all fronts, ethical and legal.
        Move on.

      3. Random Dice*

        It’s incredibly bizarre that the 7 rabid honey badgers in a trenchcoat somehow thought it was an employee who still worked there. I would have expected them to pull up the list of employees who most recently left. That’s who puts reviews on Glassdoor.

        1. Cannibal Queen*

          In fairness to honey badgers, I think that would be more of a cassowary move.

      4. Petty_Boop*

        Completely disagree. This is what Glassdoor is for. Not for witchhunts or “getting even” but for fair and HONEST reviews of a workplace so that those considering working there can know what they might be stepping in. It’s not like the place wasn’t already dysfunctional before so the people still there can’t be all that surprised that leadership is wearing their bananapants and going nuts over this. Sounds like the daily battle rhythm there already. I wrote a pretty scathing, yet honest review of a local (chain) restaurant the other night on google reviews and yelp. Is it MY fault if their management yells at my server and/or fires them? Nope. Do shoddy things, shoddy things happen back.

      1. Katrina*

        My inner chaos-demon is also aligned. I don’t think any of us listen to these demons – they’re a reflection of the sheer insanity of the workplace action described!

    6. Ellis Bell*

      It’s very, very tempting to engage in a battle of wits with people this stupid, but they seem to be setting fire to their own arses just fine. If I were OP I would just continue to watch them damage their own reputations from afar with popcorn. As for the former colleagues, the best thing OP can do for them is to continue to offer a knowingly sympathetic ear and a hearty congratulations when they do finally get out.

    7. Evan*

      Chaos Demon would be to write an addendum that implies your one of the senior leadership – something like “Senior leadership was so nuts about this post that they made us have a big all-hands to find out who did it and I had to grill people accused of something I had personally done. It would be funny if it weren’t so pathetic.”

  2. NameRequired*

    when you offer fair criticism and the other party reacts like they’re in a reenactment of The Crucible, you are not the one who should be worried that you’ve made a mistake

      1. Princess Sparklepony*

        Goody Proctor looked at me and now none of my teapots will hold tea, my llamas keep biting me, and I broke out in a rash. Let’s grab pitchforks and rope!

      1. Jam on Toast*

        Any employee who dares write a workplace review and is discovered will be forced to wear a scarlet G!

        1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

          They keep them in the VP’s office in a glass bowl he was gifted by someone who knew him all too well.

  3. CSRoadWarrior*

    Good for you for telling the truth. And it sounds like your former employer can’t handle the truth and just doesn’t see it.

    But as Alison said, this wasn’t your fault. It is the company management’s fault. They made a big deal out of this. You have nothing to worry about.

    On another note, I am glad you got out of there and found a much better job. You deserved it.

    1. Roo*

      CSRoadWarrior has said what I wanted to say.

      I also think of the countless nameless souls who read the honest review, decided against applying for company vacancies, and thus were spared from the utter misery of working for this dysfunctional outfit. LW’s honest openness has probably saved a tidal wave’s-worth of unshed tears.

      Being the one to speak up often feels very difficult and uncomfortable. But sometimes it can make a real and lasting difference for the better. I don’t think LW has anything to reproach themselves for. They did the right thing.

    2. I DK*

      If anyone can walk away from this situation with a clear conscience and sleep the sleep of the pure of heart, it is you OP.

  4. MsM*

    Can’t wait for the follow-up “we know you know who wrote that Ask a Manager letter” interrogation session.

    (Seriously, OP, hopefully your friends will be out of there soon enough and free to write their own reviews if they want.)

    1. Jennifer Strange*

      If only! Sadly, I don’t think these managers would dare read an advice column for management.

    2. Artemesia*

      And even if it is your sister or you are godmother to their child DO NOT let anyone know it was you. Blandly deny. Never admit.

  5. singularity*

    Perhaps it would help you feel better to encourage your friends to move on as well. You can’t control your former bosses, OP, but you can help your former co-workers and friends move on to better employers.

  6. Love to WFH*

    Leaving that review on Glassdoor resulted in current employees enduring a bit more misery, but it potentially saves people from applying for jobs there — there’s a balance!

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      And encouraged people to look for other jobs, when perhaps they were on the fence or hadn’t seen with clear vision quiiiite how crazy things were before that. So there’s benefit there too, even if there was some discomfort to go along with it.

      1. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

        For sure. Because it’s not like the LW said anything that wasn’t true. And I’m assuming that the review was just factual, rather than angry in tone. It’s a special kind of experience to watch leadership get mad about other people finding out the things they have directly said and done to employees.

      2. Princess Sparklepony*

        The current employees there may be the proverbial frogs in hot water that is getting hotter. Sometimes you don’t see what is happening until it comes to a boil…. Having someone write it out can be an eye opener, as well as being in a bananapants meeting that really brings it home that this isn’t where you want to be.

  7. GreyjoyGardens*

    Agreeing with Alison and commentariat. You are 100% not responsible for what your former employers do. They instigated a witch hunt because they are bad people to work for, surprise surprise! Don’t fall on your sword for your work friends unless, as Alison said, they are your besties in all areas of your life. They are adults, they can sort out what they are going to do about their workplace, job-hunting, etc.

  8. Seashell*

    I would think everyone’s first thought would be that the review writer was someone who left. This management isn’t very bright.

    1. MsM*

      Also gotta love the “talking down companies online is only okay when we’re the ones doing it!” of it all.

    2. Peanut Hamper*

      As is typical of not very bright management, they are assuming that they are the brightest porch light on the block and everyone else is dimmer. I think that explains their reaction.

    3. El l*

      Exactly. And I think that their response was “look for the internal traitor” rather than “well, that’s just a former employee” is telling.

      OP – this is the same thing we all said to yesterday’s middle-management Cultural Revolution re-enactment – you are responsible at most for reasonable responses to something you said.

      This was not remotely reasonable of them. Not in any way.

    4. Qwerty*

      One of the fields in Glassdoor is to indicate whether the reviewer is a current or former employee at the time of review.

      Odds are OP took measures to avoid it being obviously them by and
      1. Left that blank or said they were a current employee
      2. Waited a bit after leaving to write the review
      3. Used present tense when describing issues

    5. korangeen*

      Right? I was confused why they would assume it was definitely someone who still worked there! “If you don’t like it here, you can leave.” Yeah, no duh, they did!

    6. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      Because to these managers, it is just not true. Therefore, anyone who left is not the writer. They didn’t leave because they were unhappy, underpaid, mistreated. They left because they are stupid and lazy. Stupid lazy people wouldn’t do this.

    7. Ticotac*

      They probably aren’t very bright, but there is the possibility that this is a scare tactic rather than an honest attempt to find out who did it. Somebody (doesn’t matter who) left a bad review, so everybody suffers.

  9. Ama*

    I find it interesting that the bosses don’t seem to have considered that OP (or any of the other people who have left — I can’t imagine OP is the only one) are far more likely to have written the letter than anyone still working there.

    1. Presea*

      This is the same company that apparently has an actual, spoken/written policy to not promote anyone because they don’t think anyone they already employ are qualified to tackle leadership positions. These people are high off their own farts, and they don’t have power over the OP anymore, so OP doesn’t really matter to them and doesn’t figure into their thinking.

    2. Moira Rose*

      It’s also curious because Glassdoor specifically makes you check a box to say whether you’re a current or former employee. Now, maybe LW lied, but if not, the employer isn’t even looking in the right population.

      1. Lydia*

        I think it’s more likely that Terrible Management thinks whoever wrote the review lied about being a former employee, because Terrible Management sucks and would have lied about it, so clearly someone else would, too.

  10. Peanut Hamper*

    I feel that anybody in this position (LW is not the only one!) should read Allison’s first paragraph and just make it a mantra or affirmation.

    LW did nothing wrong. This company sounds just terrible.

  11. Iron Chef Boyardee*

    “leadership also made it clear that raises would be minimal and that they would not promote anybody from within because they felt like we weren’t qualified to tackle leadership positions (!).”

    How the hell does a company like this attract new employees?

      1. Peanut Hamper*

        Seriously. They are probably preying on the weak and the vulnerable in the job market and are then applying a ton of gas-lighting.

    1. Magenta Sky*

      Maybe they recruit in skid row, or other places where people are – literally – starving to death.

  12. Dust Bunny*

    leadership that would constantly go on social media and talk about how much they disliked certain employees and clients (which definitely impacted our business)

    I don’t think I’m an unusually polished or professional individual and I know for a fact that I stink at management but I just cannot wrap my head around the fact that a) people behave like this b) towards people they need to stay in business. Like, are you trying to tank this operation and put yourself out of a job?

    1. Sue Smith*

      Right. These sound like petty children determined to shoot themselves in the foot. How are they still in business?

    2. DJ Abbott*

      This does happen. I once had a long-term temp job in the back office of an insurance company. The regular employees were demoralized because it seemed like management was deliberately driving down business.
      Around two years after I was there, the company sold the division I worked in.
      I don’t know how driving down the business played into the sale, but by the timing I’m sure it had something to do with it.
      This company had a good reputation, but employees knew better.

  13. KHB*

    If these are people that you care about, I’d tell them clearly (but only once) that this behavior from management is absolutely bonkers, not normal, and worth running for this hills to get away from. Because sometimes when you’ve become acclimated to this kind of thing, it can be hard to appreciate how not-OK it is.

    After that, you can in good conscience declare that this is no longer your circus, and these are no longer your monkeys.

    1. Smithy*

      To the point about what to tell friends and how bad workplaces can warp your mind – because people get acclimated to this kind of behavior, that’s also why the OP should definitely NOT tell their friends it was they who wrote the review.

      Assuming that the OP is still hoping for some version of a mild to good reference from someone who works/worked there at some point in the future, there’s just too much risk of a work friend ultimately telling someone and making this a bigger drama. Not to say that the OP’s work friends aren’t normally good people, but someone might feel that their job is in serious jeopardy and sharing this now can’t hurt the OP. Or they feel that they know someone else who also definitely wouldn’t tell, but that person definitely will tell. Or 101 other reasons that cause this story to both continue and actively bring the OP’s name into the story.

    2. Momma Bear*

      I agree. OP doesn’t need to fess up to the review but can respond to the story as told.

  14. Scylla*

    Oooh I found myself in a similar situation a few years ago. Left a horrible job, desperately wanted to warn others on GlassDoor, but was worried about repercussions to my former coworkers still stuck there. I actually wrote to Allison (hi again!) asking if I should write a review or not, and she advised me to wait- either 6 months or a year, I don’t remember, because after 2 weeks I couldn’t stand it and wrote a review anyway!

    It was eloquent and honest- and was actually much more generous than they deserved, the jerks. But I found out later that management unanimously assumed one of my old coworkers wrote it and started treating her terribly at work and intimidating her, all while she was desperately trying to get a new job lined up.

    But she wasn’t mad when she found out it was me- those things needed to be said, people needed to be warned, and management needed to get their act together (note: they have not).

    1. Goldenrod*

      “But she wasn’t mad when she found out it was me- those things needed to be said, people needed to be warned, and management needed to get their act together (note: they have not).”

      Good point, and now I’m realizing – if a similar thing had happened while I was still employed at my former toxic job – witch hunt or no, I’d be laaaaaaaaughing and enjoying it to the fullest.

      1. Scylla*

        It certainly helped that she already had a foot out the door (I think she wound up quitting a couple months after I did) and that she wanted to warn prospective employees (all young, inexperienced and freshly out of school, of course) away from the job as much as I did.

        I still go back and read all the negative reviews on that company sometimes when I’m feeling vindictive. It’s been nearly 4 years now and it still cheers me up XD

    2. Lydia*

      “How dare you say those horrible things about working here! We will react by proving the review 100% correct!”

    3. rebelwithmouseyhair*

      Do you remember why Alison said to wait before doing it? so that you wouldn’t be identifiable because three more people would have rotated through your role in the meantime?

      1. Scylla*

        I found Alison’s response in my email: “I’d post it but wait a year before you do, which will make it much less likely they’ll think it was you. Or six months if you can’t wait that long!”

        My main concern was not wanting to be identified/burning any bridges unnecessarily, so that was the main logic in her response. But yeah turnover was so crazy at that job (I was the longest-tenured non-exec there after less than 2 years) that it probably would’ve been a lot safer for me to just wait it out.

  15. A. H.*

    I am curious, how long did the op wait before posting the review? I know when I left my neutral review at a previous job I was at I waited over a year before I felt comfortable to do so.

    At the same time I still had a feeling that my review wasn’t anonymous and think it may have been a reason it impacted me having to do a second investigation with my background check for doing government contracting work at my current place off employment. In the end it didn’t affect me but it did make me feel it was because it was the review I wrote.

    1. Sassafrassia*

      As someone with experience in background investigations for government and government contracting, I can assure you, that was an unhappy coincidence, and that’s all.

  16. The Wizard Rincewind*

    “We received an extremely negative review about the toxic workplace culture here. In response, we shall now attempt to hunt down the person responsible and fire them, a very normal and not-toxic response to criticism!” the leadership team exclaimed, then patted themselves on the back for solving the problem.

  17. Zzzzzz*

    How bizarre… they trash their own company/clients and employees online.. and yet when someone else does the same online a legit note, they lose their… let’s call it “minds” but we know better. Guilty conscience? And, they don’t feel badly about lying. They only feel badly about being caught. Sucks badly when the truth hurts. Glad you got out.

  18. goddessoftransitory*

    This company absolutely defines “Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.”

  19. Queen Ruby*

    I wrote scathing reviews of my previous company. I waited until a month or so after my last day, which was the explosion to finish off the dumpster fire that was my time working there, just so they wouldn’t refuse to pay out my unused PTO. It didn’t take long for someone there to find it, and it was very clear who wrote (on purpose! lol). Two VPs went to my former boss (also a VP) and told him to make me to take them down. He read the reviews, laughed, and said “Well, it’s all true! What do you think I can do about it, even if I wanted to do something about it?!” After all, I had been gone for almost 2 months at this point. For context, my boss is a super nice guy who was outnumbered and constantly steamrolled by the shady lunatics running the company. He appreciated my enthusiasm for wanting to make life difficult for the lunatics. Which was basically me telling the biggest gossips in the office about every shady/unethical/falsified thing I found. I was in quality, and reviewed most of the documentation, so I saw it alllllll. I definitely kept the pot stirred.
    I ran into one of the aforementioned VPs a few months ago. Nice as pie. I walked away wondering if she realized how much of I wrote was specifically about her….

      1. Queen Ruby*

        He came up with some good zingers at times, while always stating the obvious. My favorite was when the owner said no one wants to work anymore (after we both told him we were not working 12 hr days, 7 days/week). My boss replied “No one wants to work HERE!”

  20. Trek*

    The only appropriate response is ‘Thank you for proving me right.’ They are just as crazy and ridiculous as you stated. Hope they have a mass exodus shortly.

  21. Bookworm*

    Thank you for writing this letter, OP. I left a review about 6 months after I left one organization but knew I’d probably be okay because there was so much turnover at the organization by this point that it’d probably be hard to tell (and AFAIK leadership hasn’t figured it out). I’m planning to leave another review for another org, but this one is much smaller and less turnover. I needed to see Alison’s answer because yeah, I totally get how you’re feeling uncomfortable (and I can see why!).

    But it also indicates that yes, your old workspace is terrible and people needed to know that. Glassdoor/Indeed reviews may be the only way to know if a place (caveat that you sometimes don’t know who’s behind these reviews, sort of like Yelp) is okay or has issues, etc. If you don’t have any connections, it can be tough otherwise.

    It’s weird and uncomfortable but you did the right thing.

  22. Calyx*

    LW, keep on your current course of not telling ANYONE. You did a good thing. If you tell anyone, then it’s out. Your colleagues are clearly under pressure. They could either split on you, or when they tell someone else (many people WILL tell a secret to at least one other person “in confidence”) it could get repeated to the leadership by someone who doesn’t realize how it could rebound on you. You don’t need the potential spitstorm from that.

    1. Csethiro Ceredin*

      Agreed. This company seems nuts enough to think they could sue you or something. Or start harassing you.

      1. I went to school with only 1 Jennifer*

        I dunno, this IS Peri we’re talking about. Very cynical, very plain-speaking.

  23. H3llifIknow*

    I’ve never written a review on Glassdoor, but don’t they ask like “are you a current or former employee” “how long did you work there” “what was your role” etc…? If the OP had simply selected “Former employee” wouldn’t that have solved the problem? Or does the site not ask if you still work there?

    1. 2 Cents*

      I would assume that the brainiacs at OP’s former job assume that whoever left the review lied about their employment status at the company.

    2. Ellis Bell*

      You mean they would just accept that there are people out there who hold negative opinions, but who are nowadays out of their toxic reach? Not bloody likely – that philosophy would have made them civilised to people by obeying the adage of “Be kind to everyone on the way up; you’ll meet the same people on the way down.” They’re very much hoping it’s some current employee they still have power over, who is simply pretending to be a former employee. Failing that, they are hoping to shake up enough fear amongst the current employees in the hope of information on recently departed friends, so they can deny a reference to OP, or pout at them online.

  24. Wut*

    Sounds very childish workplace. When I was 6 years old I remember the rec center directors doing the same thing to us when someone vandalized the bathroom. Bringing everyone into a room, giving us all the time in the world to confess who did it, etc.

  25. Debbie Stein*

    You can however consider updating the review to make it clear you are a former employee if that wouldn’t give your identify away and it could give your friends some protection.

  26. Alan*

    I’m surprised that the company didn’t put two and two together and realize that it was someone who left recently. I would also be worried about a lawsuit from these people if they ever figure it out. Not sure if that’s a real worry, but they sound toxic.

    1. rebelwithmouseyhair*

      I’m pretty sure any lawyer would say “OK how much truth is there in that review?” and once they’d gone point by point through it and seen that actually, it was all true, they’d tell the company it would be a waste of time and money to take OP to court.

  27. Moira Rose*

    This just reminds me that I can’t wait to leave a review at my current employer when I finally get out. It’s not that it’s a bad company, but boy do I hate working there, and I wish LOTS of things had been made clear to me before I’d accepted the offer. I will make those things abundantly clear in my review.

    1. Anonymous for Today*

      Same, are you me? Once I’m out and working somewhere else, you can bet that those reviews will drop.

  28. Risha*

    I hope your former coworkers who are still there will take management’s “advice” and leave. Once of the things I will not tolerate at a job is them telling me that if I’m not happy, I can leave. I would rather have management outright ignore issues than say nonsense like that. Management seems to forget that without their employees, their company cannot run. You can choose to work somewhere else, but you chose them. But most places do not appreciate that fact. You are giving them 8 hours of your day as well as your skills. They act like they’re doing you a favor and that you’re stuck working there forever.

    And I hope all of them write their own reviews. What’s management gonna do? Fire them? They’re leaving anyway! People who may want to apply to this horrible company would want to know how bad the place is. I don’t usually recommend this, but based on how you describe the management, I would find a job then not give notice. Yes, I know it’s not professional, but IMO, you don’t owe professionalism if you’ve never gotten it from them.

    At my last job, my manager made several discriminatory comments to me because I had an HR approved accommodation for a mental disorder. My manager thought mental disorders were BS (we are NURSES!!), and that I was just coming up with that so I didn’t have to do certain tasks. Not only that, she started treating me extremely poorly after she found out my husband is a different race than I am. I know that was the reason because I saw the face she made when she saw the pics on my desk. The same day, she started picking on me to no end. Well, I tore them up on Glassdoor, Indeed, pretty much anywhere I can write a review. After my reviews, she did something very similar to what you’re saying your former management did. It was ridiculous, and it was obvious it was me who wrote the reviews.

    Anyway, congrats on the new job OP, and use that prior workplace as a lesson on things you should never ever tolerate again from an employer.

  29. GreyjoyGardens*

    I think that the LW should absolutely not fess up. There is nothing to be gained by it. Management is bananacrackers, but that’s not LW’s fault. It just demonstrates how bad the management is and how right LW was to leave!

    However, I would not go back and stir the pot by adding on an addendum to your review to the effect that management turned vindictive. That *would* out you as the culprit, and probably make things even worse for your former coworkers. It might be that one or more who escapes will write their own review “and after that one bad Glassdoor review, management made our lives miserable!”

    Leave well enough alone, let sleeping dogs lie, etc.

    1. Jade*

      Absolutely agree. Don’t post ANYTHING else. It will simmer down. You said your piece. Now just enjoy your new job.

    2. learnedthehardway*

      Agreeing. The OP should stay quiet and not further engage on Glassdoor.

      A) Even if management sees an amended posting, nothing they say will really improve the situation for their former colleagues, as management probably won’t believe it is a former employee, or will just continue to badger the current employees about it. (Incidentally, it is NOT the OP’s fault that management are doing this, and they are not responsible for changing the situation for their former coworkers.)

      B) While it is a public service that they posted, the OP does need to consider whether there could be blowback in future – eg. if they need a reference from a manager at this company. I think they should continue to keep quiet and not divulge to anyone that the post was theirs. Loose lips sink ships.

  30. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

    It’s wild when leadership says things without realizing it means they’re bad at managing. We don’t promote from within because none of our staff are ready for leadership roles is definitely up there as an example.

    1. rebelwithmouseyhair*

      Yes, it’s crazy! Like they don’t realise that means that either they are crap at hiring the right people, or they’re crap at training people to take on ever more demanding work and helping staff to grown, or they’re too mean to ever reward someone for their good work or…
      So many people don’t realise that insulting others says more about them than about the people they are insulting.

  31. triplehiccup*

    the best way to help your work friends is to help them find new jobs. offer to do practice interviews, keep an eye out for fitting positions at your new org, etc.

    1. Jade*

      That could backfire. She may not want to bring old coworkers to new job. The dynamic can be weird. A fresh start is good.

  32. New Senior Mgr*

    I wish one of the current coworkers would write a review about the witch hunt, proving some of LWs allegations.

  33. Sad Desk Salad*

    My work friend had this happen to her after she left (disgruntled with good reason). Everyone assumed she wrote a scathing yet eloquent and truthful review on Glassdoor, when eventually we learned it was a long-departed employee who kept their notes on what they wanted to write for eight months so they wouldn’t be suspected. It was a true masterpiece that encompassed everyone’s (including mine, even though I still worked there) feelings on our department and the leadership. The person is hailed as a legend, while my work friend says she only wishes she had written it.

  34. BasketcaseNZ*

    A company in my country tried to get Glassdoor to reveal names of its reviewers after they left bad reviews.
    That company only gets in the news for bad reasons (still)

    1. Anon in Aotearoa*

      I really, really wish AAM had a direct-message function at this point. I would love to know which company in our (small) country. I mean, I could name a few that would get such reviews and would feel entitled to that information…..

      1. Hrodvitnir*

        Ha! Also from Aotearoa and so curious. Especially because IME (non-white collar) Glassdoor is barely a thing here.

  35. RJ*

    Any company that deals with issues this way is fundamentally broken. This is the same method we used at summer camp one time when one of the campers pooped in the shower: we gathered everyone together and demanded to know who did it. Did the shower-pooper reveal themselves? Obviously not. So all the campers got yelled at because one kid shat in the shower. Didn’t work then and it doesn’t work ever.

  36. Free Meerkats*

    Remember, the only way two people can keep a secret is if one of them is dead. That way you maintain whatever good will and references you have and may need from them at some point in the future.

    1. Artemesia*

      yup Your best friend only tells her best friend but that best friend has no sense of loyalty to you and tells it at the next cocktail party because it is a good story.

  37. econobiker*

    ‘And then ended the meeting with, “If you have a problem with working here, you can leave.”’

    The one bit of good advice that company’s management gives out involves leaving them?

    Welp, we will need an update from one of the OP’s former coworkers after everyone bails out from this dumpster fire…

  38. Serenity by Jan*

    My brother-in-law is part owner of a small company which always sounded to me like an awful place to work. A few former employees wrote bad Glassdoor reviews. My BIL and his business partner were looking into identifying the reviewers and suing them (insert eye roll emoji here). Obviously that went nowhere so they had a few positive reviews posted, all written on the same day. Probably the owners posted the reviews or they pressured current employees to do so. This was a few years ago and since it’s such a small company there haven’t been any reviews since.

    OP did the right thing by warning potential applicants and keeping their mouth shut is also the right move.

  39. violetmntn*

    Hi OP! Something really similar happened to me in high school— I wrote a negative (and deserved) RateMyTeacher review of a previous teacher. He was a computer science teacher who had made an array of gendered comments towards me. After the semester was over, I wrote a relatively mild review about his behavior. He proceeded to go on a slander campaign after seeing it, bothered every girl still taking his classes about whether they had written it, eventually claiming he knew who wrote it and they would be in trouble. He brought it up in class constantly according to my friends still taking the class. But I ignored it, and nothing ever happened. Nobody got in trouble, and eventually he left the job. In this case, my friends did know I was really the one who wrote the post— and they weren’t upset at me for the backlash, because the information the post contained was important for students to know going forward. All to say, OP, I want to reassure you that this will be ok! These websites exist for a purpose, and it’s an important service to let potential employees know about a bad company. I literally forgot about this having happened to me until I read your post. I’m wishing you the best!!

    1. Luna*

      Given what I remember highschool being like, I’m surprised that not one person in his classes said, ‘Then walk the walk or stop talking the talk!’ about knowing who wrote the review and get them punished.

  40. SunshineIsTheBestDisinfectant*

    This wasn’t just bananapants, it was a deliberate intimidation technique. They are trying to silence people. And it almost worked. OP was induced to wonder if they were to blame for what happened.

    Writing the review was the *best* thing OP could have done to help others. These kinds of bullies need to be outed.

  41. jojo*

    I would update to tell about the witch hunt. I would also mention how under paid they are. And add that I doubled my pay by leaving. That way they would know it someone who no longer works there. I would wait a few days to update though. That way it throw them off. Like you found out over a weekend instead of the same dsy.

  42. el l*

    “If you have a problem with working here, you can leave.”

    There’s a reason that phrase was a classic tell of a Bad Boss on Kitchen Nightmares.

    Because correct response: “I just might.”

  43. Mmm.*

    I partly got fired from a job because I refused to write a Glassdoor review.

    Per Glassdoor policy, they can’t ask you to do it.

    When I was fired, I titled the review “They make you write a Glassdoor review.”

    It was very satisfying.

    Also, don’t trust it when a lot of reviewers say they are current employees. No one in their right mind would review the place they actively work at, positive or negative.

  44. Luna*

    “If you have a problem with working here, you can leave.”
    You know, maybe the reviewer-writer did exactly that. Ever thought of that? And if you continue to tell all your employees to leave if they don’t like it, you will find yourself with a very empty office.

    And maybe, just maybe, if someone complains about these issues and others are doing it, too, just maybe there *is* some truth to it. But no holding your breath that they’ll realize that and actually do anything about it.

  45. Lalitah*

    I think we have to nominate this company for the “worst boss” category because what in the banana-pants did I just read.

    Seriously: this belongs on the Reddit subreddits of dysfunctional workplaces or crazy bosses of Reddit: why do you do these kinds of things?

    I worry about their significant others being abused.

  46. NDakBeaches*

    Re temperature wars: mine is a doozy. The thermostat is set at 69° all summer. There are 8 of us. The person who controls the temp has a very warm office, so I get it butttttt… the rest of us, minus one, ALL run space heaters (provided by the company!) in our individual offices, ALL SUMMER LONG. I dress for winter, then have to remove my jacket, tall socks, and closed-toed shoes to leave the building. It’s wrong on so many levels that I short circuit about it every time the ac kicks on. Speaking of short circuit, we blow fuses every once in a while because of this too.

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