Would you like it if your current or former employees left Glassdoor reviews with the following headlines:

I'm guessing you wouldn't. If you were smart, you'd bust your buns to rectify whatever was causing the discontent in the company. But, you wouldn't be lawyer Philip Layfield.

Above the Law has uncovered a subpoena asking Glassdoor to release the identities of the people who left these and others reviews of law firm Layfield & Barrett. Clearly Philip Layfield has never heard of the Streisand Effect--"the phenomenon whereby an attempt to hide, remove, or censor a piece of information has the unintended consequence of publicizing the information more widely, usually facilitated by the Internet."

If he had, he'd know that if he wanted to make his law firm look better, the best thing to do is not call attention to himself. Chances are neither you nor I would have known thing one about his law firms if he hadn't filed a lawsuit.

Glassdoor Vice President of corporate affairs, Dawn Lyon, responded to Above the Law's request for a response by standing behind their commitment to free speech. Philip Layfield responded as well, and it's worth a click back to Above the Law to read the whole thing. Here's a quick except that I swear I just copied and pasted. I couldn't make this up if I tried:

Unfortunately, most of those people are unwilling to recognize their shortcomings and they turn to anonymous blogs to spit their venom. The reality is that they should be upset with their parents for raising lazy and incompetent young adults, but they choose to spew false information on blogs such as Glassdoor. The majority of these posts contain blatantly false information. We are going to obtain the identities of these cowards and bring them to justice.

Heaven knows I'm happy to blame parents for making poor parenting decisions (and am well aware that my day of reckoning is coming), but this is not the way to go about it. Just for fun, let's assume that Layfield is correct--every one of those people who wrote the reviews were lazy and incompetent and wrote blatant lies. Is this the right way to approach the problem? I'm no lawyer, but I'm going to say no. Here's what you do do with bad Glassdoor or Yelp or any other online platform reviews.

Ignore it.

From time to time, a bitter ex-employee or customer will write something that is absolutely not true. Let it go.

Investigate.

One bad review is easily ignored. A bunch indicates that there is an underlying problem. How is your company culture? What about specific managers? Is there a department that is lousy? Are your policies causing problems? You need to look into all of that.

Make changes.

You can bully your current employees into writing positive reviews and you can threaten and sue to try to get things taken on the internet, but that will increase your bad press and won't solve your underlying problem. If your employees are reporting that your company stinks, your company stinks. Make changes. Hire a consulting firm, if necessary, to make changes. Why a consulting firm? Because if you're the problem, your direct reports are going to be loath to tell you that you have to change. Why? Because you're a jerk. And that needs to change.

Published on: May 25, 2016