I had anticipated that my post last week would be my final word on the so-called "National Sexual Harassment Registry". But on Monday, the ABA Journal linked to my articles and conducted an interview with the founder of the registry.  In the interests of fairness, you can read the interview for yourself.

I don’t have a lot to add from my prior posts. The creator of the registry keeps modifying it, adding disclaimers and trying to suggest that it is not nearly as nefarious as he originally intended.

But if his original Rate My Boss site is any indication, it remains a gossip site that hardly contains the type of fair, accurate information you would want about a workplace.  

Want an example? Go to "Boss Review" and search for all the "CT" bosses.  It comes up a list of 99 people, including "kmokjgfa kmokjgfa" which, going out on a limb, is not even a person (and has been posted since 2009).  Way to monitor the reviews to ensure its accuracy.

And of the list, at least 95 percent of the people listed have a 100% dissatisfaction rate — mainly from one person.  Hardly a good sampling of a boss or a place to work.

It is eBossWatch founder’s own words, though, which show the lack of utility of the information on his site.  When asked if he had heard from any people who have avoided "bad bosses" because of the site, he could not even mention one.  

The founder also claims that he is a bit "confused" about what isn’t "fair" about the Registry — a criticism I’ve leveled before. So here goes:

  • The National Sex Offender Registry, which the eBossWatch’s registry is based on, relies on convictions in a court of law. The registry does not; it relies on allegations and has no checks and balances to followup on individuals listed. 
  • The site had (and likely continues to have) information on a supervisor who allegedly committed sexual harassment, even after a jury exonerated that person (and only took down that information after I raised the issue). 
  • The site posts information without providing the "offender" the chance to respond or even be notified about his or her inclusion, nor does the registry track cases to determine the status of them.
  • The site isn’t open to scrutiny — in the sense that it doesn’t disclose disclosed the size of the database or how it has been compiled.  It also does not allow for searches by state (only by name or company name), unlike even the "Boss Review".
  • In short, the registry remains veiled in secrecy and cloaked as if it were "authentic".  

So, there you have it.  I remain unconvinced that the Registry is a site worth looking at for job-seekers or employers. 

UPDATE: My final words on the subject are in this recent post. 

Last week, I let you know about a so-called "National Sexual Harassment Registry" that was both inaccurate and misnamed.  That post received a lot of publicity, including a link this morning from the influential Overlawyered blog

Earlier this morning, the folks over at eBossWatch, who have compiled the "Registry", took down some of the links I had highlighted in my earlier post, without explanation.  Moreover, they revised their descriptions and posted new information about the sexual harassment registry.

If one were being polite, you could say that they listened to the criticisms. If you’re a cynic, you could say that they got caught and are now trying to cover up their tracks, particularly since there is no accompanying explanation as to the reasons for the change.

With the update, no longer is one of the purposes of the registry — at least in one area of the site — to "help people avoid sexual harassers" (see cached version).   And though it says that it was inspired by the National Sex Offender Registry, it still highlights the main difference between this registry and the government’s one  — "[N]ot all of the people listed in the eBosswatch registry have been found by a jury to have committed sexual harassment."

And there you have it, a "registry" of allegations. This "registry" is nothing more that a meager list of some people accused of sexual harassment with no real attempt at completeness, fairness or accuracy. 

(At least, after my earlier post, the site had the grace to remove Steve Paulus from the registry and post an update about the case on its site; a jury had absolved him of sexual harassment allegations.)

For employers and employees, there are simply better, more accurate places to find information than this site. 

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.

(H/T @Eric_B_Meyer & his blog; stock photo courtesy of morguefile