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“It’s Not Just Safe” Local Business Owner Claims Yelp Posting Policies Put Employee Safety at Risk

A picture of Yelp logo
Source: Pinterest

"It's Not Just Safe" Local Business Owner Claims Yelp Posting Policies Put Employee Safety at Risk

Source: Pinterest

While using Yelp as an online review platform has become the new norm among customers, a local business owner has identified the dangers that may arise from such platforms to employees.

Sarah Johnson, the owner of Sunny Side Up, a popular breakfast joint, discusses her worries in the context of businesses and employees.

The Problem With Yelp’s Policies

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Yelp has been accused of lacking a policy on the removal of negative reviews, with the company standing on the side of businesses rather than employees.

According to Johnson, this approach hinders communication and fosters an organizational culture of silence and fear among employees.

Creating An Unknown Profile

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This means an unknown profile will be created if a business is running. A Yelp account is usually created unconsciously for most businesses. So far, they have been in business for some time.

Furthermore, it is also possible for certain customers to create fake profiles for business owners without their knowledge. You can discover new companies in any way you want and post them on your website without informing them.

Fear in the Work Environment

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For instance, if an employee is in a position to complain about an improper business activity or report a potential danger, they are perceived as “interfering” with the business.

According to Johnson, this fear creates a culture of compliance where employees are discouraged from reporting safety issues. Free speech is a cherished value in the United States, but as the quotes above illustrate, there is a price to be paid for that right.

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Workers Dissatisfaction

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Johnson opined that because of Yelp’s employment policies, the employee who raised safety concerns to the public was terminated on the spot for “breach of confidentiality.”

She notes that these policies compromise integrity and make employees unable to trust Yelp. This can lead to a lack of motivation, high turnover rates, and general dissatisfaction among employees.

A Harsh Review

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A Georgia-based owner of Jessa’s Tea Parlour, Jessa Slaven, decided to share a harsh review she received on her Yelp account.

Jessa also noticed that among 57 positive mentions, she received one complaint stating that she has a wonderful interior but bad food.

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Lack of Transparency

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Referring to Johnson, one can argue that Yelp’s regulations are relatively veiled, and it is challenging to understand what is expected from businesses. This lack of direction produces ambiguous situations that may confuse and pressure workers.

Of course, it is also crucial to note that online reviews are one of the most impactful trends in today’s business world. A critic with well-founded concerns about Yelp policies and algorithms, Johnson notes that it is possible to build a culture of compliance and deception rather than transparency and accountability.

The Need for Change

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Johnson is blaming Yelp and stating that it needs to change and provide safety for its employees.

For this, she considers it essential to shift from the current paradigm of asserting business rights to advocacy for openness and responsibility.

Knowing About the Eligibility

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Notably, not every business can be listed on Yelp since most are engrossed in traditional businesses and local services. Yelp also aims to target government agencies, parks and other local attraction sites, mobile industries, and other business establishments that are friendly to the local environment.

If Yelp realizes that company pages are somehow ineligible, all of them and the rest are mostly deleted from the search.

The Picture Policy

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Yelp does not permit a business owner to include a picture of his or her shop on an individual’s profile. Jessa mentioned that she was asked to omit a picture of the tea shop she was creating for the business platforms because it is prohibited, as per the rule.

The policy also explains that to write content on Yelp or create a profile on Yelp, businesses with ten or fewer businesses have to use only their face instead of the emblem. 

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A Call to Action

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Employers’ responsibilities toward employees should not only be colored with moral imperatives that are also legally binding.

Appreciating that every business entity has the responsibility of protecting its employees against workplace risks and dangers; it is important to identify the measures that can be recommended to help prevent employees from enduring physical harm.

The Implications for Businesses

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Johnson’s anxieties go beyond the confines of her company, affecting other businesses in their operations. The knowledge demands that they protect the employees from harm and should not prioritize the interest of the business.

This calls for an organizational cultural change that enhances employees’ freedom to report any safety or security threats within the workplace without being victimized.

Safety Is Essential

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There are arguments for and against Yelp’s policies, and the debate around the issue has been somewhat contentious.

However, one certainty is that employee safety is a priority, as companies cannot compromise on the well-being of their personnel. 

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