Website lets workers rate employers, past and present

TOM PULLAR-STRECKER
Last updated 05:00 20/05/2013

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Websites have cropped up around the world for people to rate restaurants, university courses, teachers and even lovers.

Now another has been set up by Wellington information technology manager Nigel Pinkerton that encourages staff to rate their current or former employers.

Grass-is-greener.co.nz has so far attracted a smattering of reviews. But Pinkerton is an old hand, having established several websites, including the DIY site betterliving.org which attracts 13,000 visitors a month and earns him "a few hundred dollars" a month from advertising.

He believes his employer-rating site has at least the same potential.

"Something similar has been done in the United States and people have really gone for it."

Posters need to write a review to see those that others have written but can submit anonymously under an alias.

"I am not looking for anyone to get on and have a rant," Pinkerton said.

"That will probably happen but hopefully it could be about sharing tips and ideas, so when someone goes in for a job interview they have got a bit more of an idea and they can ask the right questions. It might be idealistic but that is my thinking."

In alphabetical order, the first review is of ACC and begins with "User147" writing: "I knew from day one I had made a big mistake leaving my job for this company.

"I walked into an office that was clearly not functioning well, staff were snappy, there was no welcome to your first day, it was: Here is your caseload, sit down and do it."

The last is of Z Energy which earns almost "three stars" from anonymous User140.

"As a part-time job you could do worse, but you have to put up with a lot of crap from customers, especially when fuel prices are rising.

"There is not much room for advancement so I'd recommend seeing this job as a means to an end. They pay pretty poorly too, even if you have been there several years you may not be getting much above minimum wage."

Employment lawyer Peter Cullen said staff who posted reviews of their current employer faced a "real risk" of disciplinary action for "breaching trust and confidence" or bringing their employer into disrepute, if they were outed.

"There is always the law of defamation to bear in mind.

"You may just be saying loving things, but some employers may be uncomfortable if you write about the place of employment at all without consulting them first."

Even if people tried to be anonymous, it could often be easy for an employer to work out who they were, he said.

"The other thing about anonymous posts is they are not of much value. You don't know who has done it, if they even worked there, or if it is made up.

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"They are as much of entertainment value as real assistance."

- BusinessDay

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