Court ruling: Glassdoor must hand over anonymous user data
An unprecedented court ruling obliges the company platform to hand over the user data of anonymous critics. Toy manufacturer Zuru from New Zealand had sued for the handover of the data after critical reviews by former employees and was proven right.
Glassdoor forced to hand over user data
Founded in 2007 by Tim Besse, Rich Barton and Robert Hohman, Glassdoor offers a platform on its website where former or current employees can anonymously rate their company.
In the future, however, the ratings might not be quite so anonymous. Back in January 2022, the New Zealand-based toy manufacturer Zuru sued Glassdoor after negative reviews and demanded the handover of user data. The rating platform had filed an appeal in this regard, which was now shot down in a court in the US state of California on July 08, 2022.
“Glassdoor must disclose who wrote the reviews. […] The company must comply with Zuru’s subpoena which, among other things, requires Glassdoor to produce documents disclosing who wrote the reviews in question,” the ruling from the United States District Court, Northern District of California states.
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Glassdoor expresses disappointment
The basis for the proceedings was that apparently a former employee or staff member of Zuru Inc. had left a total of six anonymous reviews for the company on Glassdoor.
In them, the toy manufacturer was described as a “burnout factory”with a “toxic culture”led by “incompetent”management. Employees would be “consistently belittled”and “treated like dirt”.
Zuru himself describes these and similar circumstances as false and wants to charge the corresponding authors of the evaluations with defamation before the court in New Zealand. But for that to be possible in the first place, Zuru had to come into possession of the user data – which they have sued for accordingly.
In a statement from Glassdoor to the website Webworm, they express disappointment with the ruling: “We are deeply disappointed by the court’s decision, which was effectively made in the jurisdiction of New Zealand.”
Furthermore, they emphasize to defend the right to anonymous free expression on the review platform: “In this and many other cases around the world, Glassdoor fights vigorously to protect and defend the rights of our users to share and freely express their opinions. Without fear of intimidation or retaliation.”
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