Employers must beware of producing negative company reviews as it is protected under the U.S. Employment law. Yelp, Inc., which is accustomed to offering negative company review rather than receiving one, has learnt its lesson fairly well. Recently, Talia Ben-Ora, a customer service employee at Yelp posted an open letter addressed to the CEO on her blog, expressing her daily struggles due to low pay. Most parts of her letter included her remarks discussing benefits, salary, and financial challenges faced by her and her co-workers.
Shortly after this letter was posted, the company terminated her. The reason for termination stated by Yelp CEO was that due to her online post the company wasn’t receiving positive reviews.
The National Relations Labor Board has become quite aggressive when it comes to protecting the rights of an employee to discuss working conditions and wages in a public forum. This is also applied if the discussion involves making derogatory remarks for the employer. Under the National Labor Relations Act- Section 7, protesting labor policies of employers or the way an employer treats its employee is contemplated as protected activity and this section of protection extends to employees who are non-unionized as well.
Yelp negative company reviews incident, perhaps, is the most brutal reminder of the heavy consequences that employers might have to face. Both from a legal as well as public perspective, when it comes to terminating an employee protesting wages on online platforms.