I recently left a job after a few years of intense work and long hours. After leaving, I left a critical but fair Glassdoor review. Since then, I have received multiple emails from the CEO of my former employer asking me to remove the review and including (what I perceive to be) threats of the industry being “small” and mentioning my new manager by name.

I had seldom spoken to the CEO before these emails – a bit of small talk here and there in the office – and his notes to me contained details about personal and family struggles (as justification for poor leadership and mistreating employees?) that I thought verged on inappropriate. I had also delivered all of the feedback in my review throughout my tenure at the company – and, of course, had not received any interest from leadership in discussing my thoughts until I made them public.

What is the best way to respond here? As an attempt to diffuse the situation, I sent a kind email back acknowledging that working there was at times difficult, but also expressing my gratitude for all I learned and the opportunities I had. After that email, he again asked that I remove the review and made reference to the “small community” of the industry.

Should I remove the review? Is he really going to tell my new boss that I left a critical (but truthful) Glassdoor review? If he does, will my new boss even care, or will he see this as a weird and inappropriate overstep from my old employer?

  • 10
    Well honestly you could talk to your boss beforehand even and tell them about these emails from your old boss. From my perspective any sane person would find the boss acting entirely inappropriately
  • 6
    Maybe he mean the "small community" as in "we're in a small community and a bad review would cripple us".

    But if you think he mean that as in blackmailing you, I would talk to my boss and explain what happened. Honestly, I would have a negative a priori against somebody calling me out of the blue to talk shit against one of my employee.

    In anyway, do not erase the review. This is bullying, and he should know people can make their own opinion. I don't take every negative review for face-value.

    EDIT: nah sorry, if he mentionned your new manager, you should totally talk to him first and say you are being stalked by your old employer. It's none of his business who you're working with. And since he's stalking him too, he must know about it.
  • 1
    Talk to your current boss, explain the situation and then add this bullying method to the review. This should not be tolerated not accepted.

    A small disclaimer and a voice of reason should be added. Former claim is valid only if your review was really as fair and as unbiased as possible. Otherwise you could be on the receiving end of future claims.
  • 1
    “We’re small community” - I smell Charles Manson vibe
  • 0
    So.. he threatened your new job in intimation ?
  • 2
    Keep the emails and insist your review is honest for now don’t say anything off color to him

    Also keep your own logs of your current bosses behavior etc
  • 2
    Edit the review to mention that the ceo threatened you to remove the review. That should teach them.
  • 1
    Let your current boss know of the situation (at least they are aware of the context if they get contacted by your ex-boss).
    Mention that he threatened you in your review and consider blocking him or just labelling his emails as spam.
  • 3
    This isn't about honesty. It's about integrity. If it were me, I would not remove the review and burn any bridges with that old CEO. If I were your current manager, I'd be glad to have someone working for me who doesn't bend on their principles to do the right thing.

    And besides, Glassdoor has a reply feature; your old CEO could've replied to your review with a humble "I'm sorry to hear about your experience, could you elaborate further on how we can improve" but instead he wants to continue bamboozling clients, stakeholders and staff by painting a false image of the company as pristine and perfect.

    When a company paints itself as incapable of doing wrong, then you know they're not doing something right.
  • 0
    Your own integrety and feelings should be paramount in this case. Freedom of speech Is very certainly in your rights, so I would do as other suggested and inform your new manager about It, as you did nothing wrong per se.

    Just out of curiosity, was your former company one of those "We are more than a Company, we are a family" ones?
  • 3
    This is why most people either leave anonymised reviews, or none at all. The potential fallout is just too much of a hassle to deal with.

    Honestly, what I'd do now is completely ignore your old CEO, leave the review up, and move on. After a while he'll give up contacting you, forget about it, and that's that. If an old boss got in contact with me and tried to complain about an ex employee of theirs, I'd assume they were crazy and hang up. Wouldn't affect my judgement of the employee at all.
  • 0
    Hère is both my takes (software engineer and top management).

    First, he is trying to intimidate you. Simple, clear. Now I don't know if your market is small or not. If the market is really small, it could a problem, and only you can mitigate it.
    He seems like a dick head, so KEEP a record of his emails (emails are admissible in court in most developed countries!). If you left your name in the review, never do it again.
    Explain it to your manager. If he thinks your old manager is right... Start looking for a new position...
    Do not take down your review, your old boss will talk trash about you anyway.
  • 1
    And yes there are some CEO who talk trash about me (3) and some who say excellent stuff (a lot). It happen...

    As top management, I'll want the future employee to talk about it. I know a shit ton of toxic managers and most tech top management also do. So we can relate. And if your old manager start saying shit like "she lies on glass door and shit" I'll not take into account an label the guy as "toxic fuck".
  • 0
    @dooter do not give in. This clearly is blackmail. You have made a statement(review) as an - ex - employee, thus you cannot be charged for defamation. The fact they are jumping on this is because they rather keep the facade then actually fix the issue. You are not to blame. Talk to you current boss and lay it out honestly. There is a reason you have left.

    Don't give in.
  • 0
    What can be done here as a third option is:
    write a new anonymous review with a different and more polite words and style, thus, giving a chance of improvement. And then you can remove the old review which has your name on it. This way
    1. you have kept your point and
    2. made the review more welcoming instead of straightforward.
    Give it a thought.
  • 1
    I would edit my review and include the emails. I'd also tell my new company about it.
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