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October 24, 2014, 02:27:05 AM

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Author Topic: Is this website legal?!?!  (Read 3776 times)
Marce_22
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« on: February 10, 2006, 01:21:00 PM »

I'm just about done creating my website at RateAWorker.com (all content is still offline, but will be up in a few days).

But now I'm wondering if this website would even be legal? Users can rate their bosses and workers on a scale of 1 to 5 based on categories like attitude, competence, and fairness, leave an overall rating and some comments.

My friend told me this might invade worker privacy rights:
"when you are applying for a job... YOU choose which references you give out... "

"Everyone has the right to a job... and if you slacked off somewhere you have the right to have that kept secret. "

She also pointed out that people could get fired over ratings and comments left on the website.

I anticipated there might be some legal complications from such a website, but now she really has me thinking Confused

There are other websites in existence that allow people to rate professors, teachers, lawyers, doctors, mechanics, realtors, and restaurants. These websites are all legal, so wouldn't my website be legal too then?

Any replies and opinions on this matter would be GREATLY appreciated. Thanks.


EDIT:
I've seen references to these websites on other rating websites:
http://www.thefirstamendment.org/antislappresourcecenter.html

http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode47/usc_sec_47_00000230----000-.html
« Last Edit: February 10, 2006, 01:25:34 PM by Marce_22 » Logged

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philvis
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« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2006, 01:46:43 PM »

Since you asked for opinions:

I think it would be legal but I am not a lawyer. It seems no different on the surface than reviewing restaurants or web hosts. That said, it's no fun and very expensive to be sued.

I suppose you'd have a disclaimer stating that the opinions aren't yours etc but that won't stop someone from filing suit against you.

There's a website that allows people to post about (including pictures) their cheating spouses/partners and I heard they do have legal issues but continue to run the site.

Sounds like more trouble than its worth to me.
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xnera
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« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2006, 01:53:48 PM »

Lawyers, doctors, realtors, mechanics, restaurants, and hotels all provide a service in exchange for money.  So the rating sites for these industries are basically a Consumer Reports, if you will.  The rating site helps the consumer make an educated, informed decision on where to spend their hard-earned money.

Rating a worker, though... that feels to me to be less about services provided and more about interpersonal relationships.  And that makes me uncomfortable.  I understand your goal is likely to help people find good bosses, coworkers and employees, but I think you also need to realise that you could potentially be causing issues with a person's ability to be hired, if bad ratings are left.

Also.  While I am not a manager, I have on occasion overheard a supervisor or manager speaking to someone who is calling to verify prior employment.  I have heard them deny answering certain questions, because the person calling did not have the right to ask them due to invasion of privacy or fair hiring practices.  I'd really research fair hiring practices and equal opportunity employment, if I were you, before going ahead with your site.

Finally--I do not think it would be a bad thing to have ratings for workers if you also included services on your site.  I'm thinking of freelance/contract work sites like sologig.com and guru.com, who allow contractors to post their resume or employees to post job opportunities... I believe they let the employer leave feedback on the contractor.  In this case I feel it's okay, because like the "rate a restaurant" site, it's specifically about a service provided.  So perhaps consider altering the purpose of your site into one that lets contractors bid on freelance projects, and employees rate the contractors.
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Marce_22
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« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2006, 02:12:57 PM »

HMmm.. you both make interesting points.. would any of you even be interested in using RateAWorker? I might have to change things up...
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oxsley
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« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2006, 03:52:54 PM »

You might also want to think about who would really do the rating.

No reputable company would rate their workers on a website. As mentioned above, when asked about ex-employees, most companies will only reveal employment dates and nothing else, due to court cases where ex-employees have sued their previous employers over giving out negative information.

If no major companies would rate their workers, then you're left with only small unethical companies or mis-guided co-workers. And then, the ratings have little value to anyone.

Although, you might allow workers to voluntarily sign-up to be rated. Those workers could then ask people they know to give public references. Then, instead of people putting "references available upon request" at the bottom of their resume, they could include a link to your site.

When it comes to the legal stuff, all businesses have some level of legal risk....just some more than others. We live in a very litigious society. If every business that's ever been sued never got started, we'd still be in the stone age.
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Marce_22
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« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2006, 04:14:24 PM »

I should clarify that all ratings would be anonymous. And users can add companies, co-workers, and bosses. The website is database-driven so it is very user interactive. The whole idea was meant more to be for fun and to give workers the ability to let their co-workers and bosses know how they can improve themselves. Because quite often, we are too afraid to tell people things like that. The website is not meant to be used by companies to rate their workers. It is more meant for workers to rate their company, bosses and co-workers.

Either way, I am starting to have serious doubts about this idea. The only problem is I have the domain name registered, and the website is like 95% done. It would be a real shame to throw all my work down the drain, but this website might just be very problematic. Maybe somebody has ideas on other types of ratings I could do?
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GMTurner
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« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2006, 05:16:13 PM »

PREFACE: I'm not a lawyer and the following does not consitute legal advice...

is this person hot or not? There's a site that's all about rating people.... in terms of rate a prof I can tell you that not all profs are happy with those sorts of sites... and if it is a public institution, even the course/faculty ratings (mainly the numerical ratings) are public record and subject to freedom of information requests...

In this case the site itself is really more a "rate this person" who might or might not be a co-worker...you could be setting yourself up to get involved in some lawsuits of slander, if false information is posted about someone... and since these would not be official evaluations of employees, there might be other issues involved....

Definitely something I would be cautious about and would consult with an attorney about before going live with it...

* GMTurner wanders off thinking about a "rate the student" website for faculty to use... what sort of student is ___? hmmm....

AGAIN: not a lawyer and the above should not be considered legal advice... disclaimer, disclaimer, disclaimer Smile
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The above post was made at a time when I gave a dang and doesn't necessarily reflect my current views or opinions.

For those no longer with us ... Grr..!!

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Dorothi
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« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2012, 09:56:58 PM »

Hi,

There are two kinds of legal liability: civil liability and criminal liability. Civil liability may lead to injunctions and damages payments and criminal liability could means a fine and a criminal record and possibly worse.
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Tom52
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« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2013, 11:27:00 AM »

I see nothing wrong with this website. If anything, this site is very useful.

I have seen students rating their professors/teachers on a site.

Sure, there can be a few bad reviewers but these sites tend to be useful.
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