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How a bad review led to a life-changing lawsuit for this business

This tale of a business defined by an anonymous negative review left on Glassdoor goes to show why lawsuits should be the last resort.

People in office representing leadership

I know you’ve seen one (or a million) of them: a company review that leaves you either laughing or totally speechless, especially on a job-related site like Glassdoor.

What’s generally thought of as a way to express an opinion and help others, can also be an unexpected one-way-ticket to the lawyer’s office.

What would you do if an unsatisfied past employee left you an undesirable review? Maybe look into what you could do to improve or possibly hold a meeting to discuss potential issues within the company?

Well, if you’re like Philip Layfield, your first choice would be to sue. No, I’m not kidding.

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Several negative reviews were left on Glassdoor referring to Layfield & Barrett, Philip Layfield’s law firm company. This definitely struck a nerve with Philip and he stated,

“The reality is that they should be upset with their parents for raising lazy and incompetent young adults, but they choose to spew false information on blogs such as Glassdoor. The majority of these posts contain blatantly false information. We are going to obtain the identities of these cowards and bring them to justice.”

That’s an exact quote. Ouch.

You may be asking yourself whether or not this is legal. Going after someone for a review? Can they even do that?

Glassdoor, after being hit with a subpoena to release the identities of the reviewers, argued that complying would violate anonymous speech rights. Their privacy policy states that the company can “take appropriate action to protect the anonymity of users.”

Of course, bad reviews can have negative and lasting impacts on businesses. The line on how far is too far when it comes to companies taking action on past employees isn’t clear, though.

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New York Fintech startup company, LoanStreet, announced it would file a $1 million lawsuit against a previous employee who left an unsatisfactory review.

Though the lawsuit hasn’t taken off yet, situations like this have made people afraid to talk about their experiences. Is this setting the tone for a grim future in regard to free speech in online spaces?

Hey, if you’re one of those people that leaves reviews anonymous, we TOTALLY get why.

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Macie LaCau is a passionate writer, herbal educator, and dog enthusiast. She spends most of her time overthinking and watering her tiny tomatoes.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Mason

    September 16, 2022 at 7:46 pm

    Great article! Thanks 🙂

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