Anonymous Employee Dirt, Soon Available on You?
On Sunday, I posted about laws that prohibit employers from consulting certain information about job applicants, from credit reports to Facebook pages and Google search results. These laws seek to forestall unwarranted assumptions and bias. They proceed on the notion that credit history and Facebook postings have little to tell us about trustworthiness and smarts.
Much like credit ratings and Facebook posts, anonymous online reviews of people may do little more than misinform employers and ruin reputations. For instance, the site GetUnvarnished.com explains that it provides “inside scoop” on business professionals, including “candid assessments of coworkers, potential hires, business partners, and more.” On GetUnvarnished.com, people can comment on others’ reputations anonymously. Although the site uses Facebook to verify its users, it does not reveal their identities to readers. Unlike Facebook or LinkedIn, GetUnvarnished.com isn’t interested in a real-name culture. It seems highly unlikely that we can rely on people to rate others’ professional skills in a fair and balanced way. People aren’t restaurants, hotels, or books in whom we have, for the most part, little personal stake. Give a competitor a bad review and you may find yourself rich with work. As Evelyn Rusli of TechCrunch notes, GetUnvarnished may become a “nicely indexed digital burn book.” Germany should include sites like GetUnvarnished on its employer-ban list too.