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Google Maps No Longer Lets You Post Negative Reviews About Your Crappy Job (gizmodo.com.au) 192

From a report: Google has updated its Maps policies to ban certain business reviews left by former employees. In a new section of the Google Maps "User Contributed Content Policy," Google now labels reviews "about a current or former employment experience" as a "conflict of interest." Originally, only current employees were barred under the policy. The new rules, quoted below, went into effect on December 14.
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Google Maps No Longer Lets You Post Negative Reviews About Your Crappy Job

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  • by ThunderBird89 ( 1293256 ) <zalanmeggyesi@NOSPam.yahoo.com> on Tuesday January 02, 2018 @02:02AM (#55847183)

    Why would you publicly defame current or former employers? Not only is it rude, it's not graceful nor professional in any way to burn bridges on exit.

    • You need to ask? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by thesupraman ( 179040 ) on Tuesday January 02, 2018 @02:14AM (#55847209)

      So, just to check here...

      Are you saying you think the unwashed masses are graceful and/or professional?
      That they have any consideration for future repercussions to their actions?
      That they are capable of even remembering that they did this a week later?
      You think that acting sensibly would be more important than the 5 minutes of 'fame' they felt they would get from posting some stupid troll-rant the moment they left a job?

      Interesting...
      Want to buy a bridge?

      • So, just to check here...

        Are you saying you think the unwashed masses are graceful and/or professional?

        They should be.

        That they have any consideration for future repercussions to their actions?

        They should, if they don't, they shouldn't blame prospective employers if they don't want to hire hostile, toxic people.

        That they are capable of even remembering that they did this a week later?

        That is wholly irrelevant to the question, I think. But if you think otherwise, please do expand on your point.

        You think that acting sensibly would be more important than the 5 minutes of 'fame' they felt they would get from posting some stupid troll-rant the moment they left a job?

        That would hardly be "fame", correct. I think it's more therapeutic to type up the rant, take a deep breath, and hit Ctrl+A, Delete. That usually helps for me when I have some pent up frustration.

        Interesting...
        Want to buy a bridge?

        No thanks, I'm a Titan pilot, I make my own bridges :) (EVE Online)

        Ser

      • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

        Are you saying you think the unwashed masses are graceful and/or professional?

        Of course not. Part of being professional while working at a restaurant is remembering to wash. The health department is pretty strict about that. No wonder they got fired. :-D

      • by Uberbah ( 647458 )

        Are you saying you think the unwashed masses are graceful and/or professional?
        That they have any consideration for future repercussions to their actions?
        That they are capable of even remembering that they did this a week later?
        You think that acting sensibly would be more important than the 5 minutes of 'fame' they felt they would get from posting some stupid troll-rant the moment they left a job?

        Interesting...
        Want to buy a bridge?

        Want to attend a labor camp for elitist snobs? Openings are available!

    • by magusxxx ( 751600 ) <magusxxx_2000&yahoo,com> on Tuesday January 02, 2018 @02:36AM (#55847261)

      It's also rude to mistreat your employees. Or require them to look the other way where the law is concerned. That's why it's good to have websites like Glassdoor.

      And isn't it funny how when an employee has a complaint upon leaving a company its called 'burning their bridges.'

      Yet when upper level employees have a complaint upon leaving a company it's called 'managerial differences.'

      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 02, 2018 @03:49AM (#55847387)

        Why would you publicly defame current or former employers? Not only is it rude, it's not graceful nor professional in any way to burn bridges on exit.

        It's also rude to mistreat your employees. Or require them to look the other way where the law is concerned. That's why it's good to have websites like Glassdoor.

        And isn't it funny how when an employee has a complaint upon leaving a company its called 'burning their bridges.'

        Yet when upper level employees have a complaint upon leaving a company it's called 'managerial differences.'

        I think you will find that mistreatment is part and parcel of being profitable and as such employee mistreatment by companies is highly commendable. It’s only organizing workers to defend against abuse that is neither graceful nor profssional in any way which is why many employers would like nothing more than ban labour organization and collective bargaining by law.

      • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Tuesday January 02, 2018 @05:50AM (#55847649)
        Just to give a window into what it's like from the other side, when I was managing a company with 60 employees, we had to fire one of them. He was head of his department and we were pretty sure he was embezzling (his replacement eventually confirmed this when he went through a half year of purchase orders and compared to what was in inventory). About a month later I got a phone call from the company he'd applied for a job at - he had given me as a reference.

        I wasn't sure what I was allowed to say so gave the excuse that I was way too busy and could they please call back the next day. We had unlimited phone access to employment lawyers as part of our employment liability insurance, so I called them up and explained the situation. They told me flat out that unless we had rock-solid proof he was embezzling, under no circumstances should I state that as the reason we had let him go. I couldn't mention any of our suspicions or circumstantial evidence either. We couldn't (or shouldn't) mention any negatives in his reference unless we had documentation on file to back it up (like signed formal reprimands - I had always wondered why we had to have 2 other people in the room with the employee when we gave a reprimand, and why the employee was required to sign them).

        The next day when they called back I had to water down our experience with him as "he didn't fit well with the company." I stammered and hesitated while saying it, and I think I succeeded in getting the message across that there was a lot more to it than that but I wasn't legally allowed to say it. I understand now why there's an art to double entendres [netjeff.com] and backhanded compliments [spybattle.net] when it comes to job references.

        So the distinguishing factor isn't low-level vs high-level employee. It's "differences" when it's on the record and the company doesn't have rock-solid proof (i.e. they could be sued for libel or slander). It's "burning bridges" when it's off the record or the company has rock-solid proof. High-level employees just get the "differences" explanation more often because they're better at covering their butts than low-level employees.
        • by DutchSter ( 150891 ) on Tuesday January 02, 2018 @09:09AM (#55848089)

          My favorite reference seeking question is "would you hire them back?" When the answer is "no", how it is said does speak volumes.

          No need for any more details than that. Although I will say that while many companies do take the tight lipped approach there are also many that will talk your ear off for an hour if you let them.

          • For what it's worth though? I never understood why so many companies ARE so receptive to hiring back people who quit (or were let go)? The only answer I'd expect to the "Would you hire them back?" question would be a definitive "No!" If the employee was worth keeping to begin with, then the company should have made the effort to retain them!

            (Exceptions here would be places that actually explained that they WANTED to keep the person but even a generous counter-offer was rejected.)

            I've worked for several com

          • by Ichijo ( 607641 )

            When the answer is "no", how it is said does speak volumes.

            About the employee or the employer?

        • by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Tuesday January 02, 2018 @10:32AM (#55848395) Journal

          "I can't tell you the reasons he was fired, just that there were about 250,000 of them."

        • The advice by your lawyers may be good advice, but realize that it is advice that also serves the company that the lawyers are being paid by (the insurance company). It is advice designed to decrease the chance that the terminated employee will start legal action against you, causing your insurance company to spend money on said lawyers and other bits and pieces.

          Just depends on how important your view of the truth (that your ex employee was really embezzling) is.

      • Or require them to look the other way where the law is concerned.

        Agreed. Not sure google maps is the right avenue for that though.

        I'm also not sure how much I would admit to knowing about illegal activities online on google maps (or elsewhere) unless I also reported them to the authorities. And if I did report it, those authorities would probably not want me posting information about a possible case online.

      • by gmack ( 197796 )

        It's also rude to mistreat your employees. Or require them to look the other way where the law is concerned. That's why it's good to have websites like Glassdoor.

        And isn't it funny how when an employee has a complaint upon leaving a company its called 'burning their bridges.'

        Yet when upper level employees have a complaint upon leaving a company it's called 'managerial differences.'

        "managerial differences" means you had disagreements with the way the company was run.

        "burning bridges" Means you expressed those disagreements publicly

        It is actually, quite easy to quit even as a low level employee without burning bridges.

        • "managerial differences" means you had disagreements with the way the company was run.

          "Managerial differences", like "wanting to spend more time with family", are the "acceptable" reasons to give for leaving when the real reason is extremely unflattering to someone (usually, but not always, the employer).

          They are code phrases, nothing more.

    • by sg_oneill ( 159032 ) on Tuesday January 02, 2018 @04:01AM (#55847407)

      Well its not always defamatory, sometimes the former employer are just terrible, and thats why you left.

      But sometimes.... We had a recent issue where a very senior employee left to start at another company, all good and fine, and then started spamming reviews of our apps with absolute nonsense, and he knows it would be nonsense because he was on the design team. It was baffling, we thought he left on good terms, but apparently he had something bottled up.

      Shame he never told us what was irking him while he was here. We could have sorted it. It wasnt like the guy was shy when he had something he didnt like.

      So I get googles position here. It IS a conflict of interest.

      • by Khyber ( 864651 )

        It's only a conflict of interest if you currently work there. If you don't work there, you have no interest, therefore there is no conflict.

        Please try again when you understand the full implications of conflict of interest.

      • When you reach a certain level of pay you do not air your grievances--ever. You just grin and nod while looking for another job. New high paying jobs that aren't as bad or worse than the current one can be hard to find. "Yeah, everything is great man." While thinking: "Absolutely fuck this place." OR "I have plateaued here...and this shit is getting really lame." For issues like this there is absolutely nothing your boss can do and if you tell them about things that are bothering you that will never be

    • Why would you publicly defame current or former employers?

      Ooh, I don't know, would you appreciate being informed by a former employee that the restaurant you are about to eat at scrapes the rice out of the bowls and off the dishes that come off the cleared tables, washes the stuff in a sieve, makes fried rice out of it and sells it back to the next customer? Or that they take any meat left over on the dishes, dice it up, store it in the fridge and cook a stew out of it once a week? Daily special, our own spicy stew recipe (extra spicy to mask the old meat taste) .

      • When I was working my way through college I saw this sort of thing going on to varying degrees of outrageousness in a couple of pretty high priced establishments while some of the cheaper places were models of cleanliness and professionalism

        Doesn't surprise me too much. Guess which restaurants get the most spot checks from heath inspectors or are most likely to have heath inspectors believe a tip from a disgruntled former employee? It's not the place where the Mayor eats...

      • Ooh, I don't know, would you appreciate being informed by a former employee that the restaurant you are about to eat at scrapes the rice out of the bowls and off the dishes that come off the cleared tables, washes the stuff in a sieve, makes fried rice out of it and sells it back to the next customer?

        And just because said former employee writes it why exactly should I believe it to be true without any corroborating evidence? The only thing I know for certain is that if the former employee is actually a former employee then they have a built in conflict of interest. Maybe they are telling the truth but it's equally if not more likely that they are making up nonsense because they are salty about some aspect of their time with their former employer. People lie in internet reviews all the time. Pissed

    • Why would you publicly defame current or former employers? Not only is it rude, it's not graceful nor professional in any way to burn bridges on exit.

      But what if they are actually shit?

      • But what if they are actually shit?

        So what if they are? I've worked for some shitty employers. I'm not about to publicly say something stupid about them that is going to hurt my future and double down on letting them screw me. Future employers might read what you wrote and there is a reasonable chance they won't look on it favorably. Unless you have enough cause to have an actual lawsuit then let it go and move on. It's not your problem anymore. Your bad review isn't saving anyone and it probably just makes you look like a petty and ir

        • Yeah but that's assuming you leave a review that is identifiable you specifically by people who don't know you and why would you even do that with a good or bad review?

          Mostly these companies would want to get rid of every single bad review regardless of merit or substance but then what's the point in having a system than only lets 'good' reviews past? It defeats the point of having reviews to begin with.
          • Yeah but that's assuming you leave a review that is identifiable you specifically by people who don't know you and why would you even do that with a good or bad review?

            An anonymous negative review from a "former employee" has about as much credibility as an email from a Nigerian Prince offering you the deal of a lifetime. If you really have an ax to grind then put your name on it. If you fear retribution then there are better ways to deal with the problem then a hot headed rant on google maps.

            Lets be honest. It's going to be a very rare negative review of a former employer that is A) factually correct, B) objectively written, C) emotionally cool and D) has any motivat

        • Your bad review isn't saving anyone

          If it's one of a number of other similar bad reviews, then it's saving me from patronizing a business I'd rather not support.

        • "Your bad review isn't saving anyone"

          I don't know dude...if a company is getting roasted on GlassDoor it is a pretty good indication not to waste your time.

    • Are you in HR? Abusive employers are the unprofessional ones. It is a public service to expose them. Power and money grubbing scum are not deserving of your imagined "professionalism", you have Stockholm syndrome.

      • Are you in HR? Abusive employers are the unprofessional ones. It is a public service to expose them. Power and money grubbing scum are not deserving of your imagined "professionalism", you have Stockholm syndrome.

        No, I'm Chief Support Engineer. My sense of "professionalism" comes from an avid reading of Clean Code and Clean Coder, two books that we (our company) holds in the same regard as the Bible, and is the first two books for new hires as "required" reading.

        An abusive employer can be exposed via other means, job seekers hardly look for a workplace review on Google Maps, do they? You can talk to your superiors, there are employment courts/lawyers that can help you fight abuse, there are ways other than ranting a

        • job seekers hardly look for a workplace review on Google Maps, do they?

          True, but potential customers do. As a potential customer, I want to know these things as well.

        • by geekoid ( 135745 )

          Customers do, and clean coder is crap. It's not different then a thousand other books solely designed to sound good so you buy his seminars.

          It's not professional to let your peers go work at a shit hole.

      • by sjbe ( 173966 )

        Abusive employers are the unprofessional ones. It is a public service to expose them.

        No it really isn't. Here's how this plays out. Even if an employer is genuinely terrible your rant about them is NOT going to "expose" them or make any difference at all. What will happen is people who read it are mostly going to think you are an irrational jerk who got fired for cause and is salty about it. (which is probably true) Future prospective employers who read it will conclude "this is a person who may be willing to bash us publicly - we should hire someone else". The company will not be imp

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        > Abusive employers are the unprofessional ones.

        I agree with you that they are a problem, and a dangerous one. Exposing them can be a public service. The idea that moral or ethical behavior is "unprofessional" is a confusing one. There is a great deal of behavior in the workplace that is very "professional" in the sense of lowering expenses or improving profit, benefiting that "profit" root word in "professional", but are nonetheless unethical or illegal. This includes refusal to hire the disabled, refus

        • I'd like to encourage separation of the idea of "ethical" from "professional".

          The business world has already separated the two concepts to a dangerous degree.

          Personally, I think you can't act professionally without also acting ethically.

        • by pnutjam ( 523990 )
          bod mod.. Tried to mod this insightful, it is.
    • by houghi ( 78078 )

      Because people like to moan. When I am with friends we seldom talk about the fact how great our job is. No matter how great it is. We now talk how much better previous jobs where, eve though we moaned how terrible things where.

      That said, people also do not understand the difference between private and public. Next to that they are forced to use their real name and ID on sites like Facebook and do the same with site like Google.

      When I was 15 or so, long before the Intertubes, I already had discussions about

    • Why would you publicly defame current or former employers? Not only is it rude, it's not graceful nor professional in any way to burn bridges on exit.

      It's also a great way to ensure that any future prospective employers who do a background check and read your comments will not hire you. Any sane company will be very reluctant to hire someone who was willing to bash their employer in public even if they had excellent cause to do so.

    • Yeah, this is what semi anonymous career sites like Glassdoor are for. Publically flaming a former employer with your Google is career suicide, as you're going to get yourself tagged as a troublemaker.

    • by zifn4b ( 1040588 )

      Why would you publicly defame current or former employers? Not only is it rude, it's not graceful nor professional in any way to burn bridges on exit.

      If a former employee knows something that could benefit consumer choice, it is a valid reason to post a review of your former employer.

    • I would be very reluctant to publicly defame a former employer. This is especially because I have various non-disclosure agreements signed with current employers and former partners. But such comments have been invaluable when reviewing a new business partner or writing a contract, to understand how a partner's management and work ethic might affect our work with them. Being overworked, poorly organized, or being a wonderful place to work can affect whether we need to hand them an early release and collabor

    • by mjwx ( 966435 ) on Tuesday January 02, 2018 @09:54AM (#55848239)

      Why would you publicly defame current or former employers? Not only is it rude, it's not graceful nor professional in any way to burn bridges on exit.

      Usually it's because the employer did not handle your exit in any manner that could be remotely considered graceful or professional.

      I left my last employer under such circumstances, I also managed to create enough problems that they ended up giving me 3 months of "gardening leave" in order to avoid a suit. That was one of two unwritten agreements between us, the other would be that they wouldn't give me a negative reference and I wouldn't slag off the company (which was struggling to find staff as it was).

      I have nothing kind to say about that company, in fact I consider joining it the biggest mistake of my life, staying there the second biggest. However I'd only tell someone the company and the details in person.

      It is a perfectly natural response to want some revenge on someone (or some company) that you feel has wronged you. Even though Google Maps no longer allows it (their house, their rules) there are plenty of options like Glassdoor, various social media, your own website.

    • (1) You don't care, having switched professions entirely
      (2) The employer is doing something dangerous to the public -- e.g. a restaurant selling food that isn't fresh
      (3) You were treated badly (denied vacation time, asked to work much longer hours than contractually obligated) and want to warn other potential employees.

      Employers aren't your betters that you should cringe and bow before them, thanking them for every mistreatment. They're subject to and deserving of criticism, same as any other entity.

      • Employers aren't your betters that you should cringe and bow before them, thanking them for every mistreatment. They're subject to and deserving of criticism, same as any other entity.

        I doubt anyone would argue to the contrary. But posting a warning rant to Google Maps is likely to be ineffective, petty, and counterproductive. If a company is really misbehaving there are FAR more effective means of exposing their misdeeds. I have seen plenty of calls to OSHA or local health inspectors. I have seen tips to local journalists. There even are internet sites actually devoted to dealing with employer misconduct. Google maps isn't one of them. If you want to expose a company do it the ri

        • Agreed. Ex-employees should be more creative about their bad reviews.

          Write them from the POV of a customer. "I took the wrong door into the kitchen while looking for the bathroom, and saw them putting spoiled, stinky meat into the soup..."

          As far as OSHA and health inspectors, they can be slow to act. Journalists? Yeah. But what's wrong with citizens pointing out corruption on their own? You shouldn't need to work for the mainstream media to be able to make a difference.

          • Write them from the POV of a customer. "I took the wrong door into the kitchen while looking for the bathroom, and saw them putting spoiled, stinky meat into the soup..."

            Your argument is that they should lie about who they are and what their motivations might be? There goes any credibility. Disagree with this completely. Do it right and with integrity or don't do it at all.

            As far as OSHA and health inspectors, they can be slow to act.

            Sometimes but so what? You think a negative review on Google Maps or Yelp is going to have any sort of immediate impact? Most likely people are going to ignore it or think you are some kind of a crank.

            Journalists? Yeah. But what's wrong with citizens pointing out corruption on their own? You shouldn't need to work for the mainstream media to be able to make a difference.

            Nothing is wrong with it but let's be honest. You and I probably don't have much of an audience. A

            • Yelp/GMaps has MORE of an audience when talking about (say) a specific restaurant than a journalist. Especially since multiple people with bad experiences can post poor reviews. Journalists are often reluctant to give bad press to businesses, since it will influence their ability to review other businesses, and maybe even open them to lawsuits. As far as lying -- if you're describing a true situation with a back story slightly changed to get around a review site's rules, so be it. If it saves a customer
            • by geekoid ( 135745 )

              " You and I probably don't have much of an audience. "

              You and I may not, but google maps does.

              It's one review of many. It's not about the one, it's about the many.

              "Journalists are in a good position to make a real difference in the event of genuine wrongdoing."

              Hey busy journalist, drop everything and write about this restaurant.

              Plus, there are anything a journalist can't write about, like when I worked at a place who medical scheduling software was dangerously incompetent. What's a journalist going to do? A

        • by geekoid ( 135745 )

          Thanks for dictating how we need to behave, dad.

          "I have seen plenty of calls to OSHA or local health inspectors. I have seen tips to local journalists. "

          sure, sure.

          What about other behavior problems? like cancelling vacations? making you work on vacation? No leadership? Petty and vengeful management? dangerously bad code?

          Which dept of OSHA should I contact?

    • by mysidia ( 191772 )

      Why would you publicly defame current or former employers? Not only is it rude, it's not graceful nor professional in any way to burn bridges on exit.

      UNLESS the Reviewier is Lying or posting misleading information, then it's not rude, disgraceful, or non-professional.
      IF The former employee feels that bad about the employer, then it is not "burning bridges" to be a whistleblower on their past employer's abusive practices, because that person could not in good conscience or self-respect come back to work

    • It depends on how its done. If an employer is really terrible, that's something that people should know. If nobody ever says anything, how would people find out?

    • by geekoid ( 135745 )

      A) I've burned bridges, and I have no regrets.

      B) If the employers is a crappy employees, then people should know.

      The more informed the populace, the better the market works.

      I long time ago, I worked for a company called SMS. It was crappy, and I would literally warn off people interviewing. It was literally that bad.

  • It can be amusing (up to a point) when I find an odd marker on Google Maps that is out of place or otherwise unworthy of a review, to find it with at least 1 review anyway.

    I found one the other day, not a retail business at all but some kind of private salvage yard for which somebody had left 5 stars. FIVE WHOLE STARS! I know it's a joke vote, but it points out how hollow reviews can be.

    Then there are the absurd reviews, like a hotel where somebody reports that EVERYBODY was rude to her during the entire 2

    • by Krishnoid ( 984597 ) on Tuesday January 02, 2018 @02:29AM (#55847249) Journal

      Then there are the absurd reviews, like a hotel where somebody reports that EVERYBODY was rude to her during the entire 2 week stay and there were human feces piled on the bed all the way up to the ceiling and cockroaches crawling everywhere and the food was all spoiled causing diners to vomit over every table at every meal and on and on. I guess they think they will scare away business with this claptrap. Same thing happens on the positive side.

      I was at that hotel once! One odd thing is that that all the staff had red skin and horns. A lot of them had some pretty styling goatees and what looked like hooves. I'm guessing it was run by hipsters or furries?

    • I found one the other day, not a retail business at all but some kind of private salvage yard for which somebody had left 5 stars. FIVE WHOLE STARS! I know it's a joke vote, but it points out how hollow reviews can be.

      I don't know... I'd give any place able to launder my coke money 5 stars.

    • I like the reviews for railroad bridges and other infrastructure. 5/5 would interlock again!

      And for government offices - apparently the state tax department makes the best tacos.

  • by hyades1 ( 1149581 ) <hyades1@hotmail.com> on Tuesday January 02, 2018 @02:21AM (#55847229)

    So which would be a better solution, come up with a fake on-line ID and use that to comment on an abusive former employer, or just have a friend do it for you?

    Decisions, decisions...

  • Instead of "banning" such reviews: Require Disclosure that you were an employee --- And you can take that disclosed information into account when calculating things like the scores shown to OTHER users, they can even make it APPEAR to the user that their review will be published but de-prioritize it versus reviews when people not related to them view the google maps page: Because BANNING/Prohibiting these types of reviews means these reviews will still happen, but the reviewer will be more cove

  • the Do No Evil directive...

  • One of the things I consider when deciding whether or not to do business with a company is how they treat their employees. This is valuable information to me.

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