UPDATE: Since my original post, the Registry has been revised and various links have been removed, presumably in response to the criticism. You can find my update on the site here.
Ever have a sexual harassment complaint filed against your company or a supervisor? Congratulations, the supervisor is now eligible to appear on a "National Sexual Harassment Registry."
Of course, perhaps the supervisor is just a "bad boss", whatever that means. Never fear. He or she can appear on a list of "bad bosses". As a bonus that list will get republished by various newspapers as somehow being factual and worth republication.
And suppose you want to find out if your potential supervisor isn’t all that he or she is cracked up to be? For $19.95, you can have a background check run! (Just don’t read the Terms & Conditions where you might find out about the violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act you may be committing.)
Welcome to the world of eBossWatch, whose declared mission is to help "people avoid hostile work environments and workplace bullying."
Instead, it seems to be a message board, tabloid-ish site and a money-making venture. It may be good for making money but as a legitimate research tool, it appears to be lacking in many ways.
Why do I say that? Just take the "National Sexual Harassment Registry", which was launched this week, for example. eBossWatch professes that this registry’s purpose is to "help people avoid sexual harassers and to help put an end to sexual harassment by sending a strong message to those intending to harass their employees or coworkers that they will be publicly held accountable and will suffer serious consequences for their abusive actions."
The problem is it doesn’t do that. It only lists a few people accused of sexual harassment (and appears to be limited to those that eBossWatch has selected). By its own terms, people on its registry are "sexual harassers", even though what it really compiles are a few people who have named in sexual harassment complaints — whether those have been settled or resolved or still pending.
Heck, it even suggests that some of these sexual harassers have not yet been found "guilty" by a jury — never mind the fact that juries in sexual harassment cases don’t find people "guilty" because the cases are civil, not criminal. You just can’t be "guilty" of sexual harassment.
But beyond that, the site contains inaccurate or outdated information. My brief search, for example, reveals that there are people listed there that a jury has concluded did not commit sexual harassment.
Case in point: Steve Paulus, a "boss" for New York One News, is listed on the registry. Indeed, when you click on the link to view the "boss review" you get another link to an article that lists the accusations against him.
The problem: A jury concluded otherwise by ruling in favor of the company on the underlying sexual harassment complaint. Of course, you’d never know that from the eBossWatch website. Are we really to believe that eBossWatch is putting an "end to sexual harassment" through this so-called "registry"?
This site isn’t the only one out there. But its rollout of the "sexual harassment registry" is its newest creation and its been seeking publicity through its Twitter feed (that amazingly has over 13,000 followers). The media continues to gives this site publicity as if it were a neutral observer and provided accurate information.
Of course, the irony of this post is that it may give eBossWatch more publicity and more people willing to shell out $20 for some type of "background check." But for those looking for accurate information, you’re better off doing it the old fashioned way — talking with people who have worked there.
What a novel idea.