Nozak Consulting

Google Prohibits Ex-Employees from Posting Negative Google Reviews About Their Former Employer

Scott Emigh

Google My Business guidelines have always been esoteric to follow. If you own a small business, like us, then you’ve probably had to deal with the vague guidelines in the past, too. Marketers and small business owners have had problems with Google My Business guidelines for a long time. In many cases, it is challenging to interpret them correctly. The best way to learn Google’s guidelines is by time and practice, because seeing which rules Google will enforce and won’t enforce will help you understand how to keep the rules in the future. One flaw in this system, however, was how Google handled reviews written by people previously employed by a company. Many business owners believed it was against the guidelines of Google My Business for an employee to post a review about their old employer. The truth, however, proved to be more complicated.

Google Review Rules

One could be forgiven for thinking an employee couldn’t leave a review about their ex-employer, as the policy page states: “Make sure that the reviews on your business listing, or those that you leave at a business you’ve visited, are honest representations of the customer experience. Those that aren’t may be removed.”  Additionally, the rules state: “Conflict of interest: Reviews are most valuable when they are honest and unbiased. If you own or work at a place, please don’t review your own business or employer.” With both of these rules in mind, it seems logical that former employees couldn’t leave reviews of their old workplace. The point of a review is for a customer to give a recommendation or condemnation of a business based on their experience as a customer. This is why Google would remove reviews which your friends wrote for you. They aren’t leaving an accurate impression of the services offered by the company. In this way, an employee doesn’t have the perspective a customer has, so their review isn’t relevant to the business. Especially if they are bitter towards their old employer, or have some kind of conflict with them. This was not the case, however, as Google’s rules only applied to current employees at a company. This means that an ex-employee could leave whatever negative review they wanted. Many business owners have tried to remove these unfair negative reviews, but Google always refused, claiming that the reviews were not against their guidelines. This proved to be a large problem for many business owners whose reputations were being damaged by ex-employees. In one example, a former employee from the preschool wrote a negative review about it, and Google left it up. In another example, here is a discussion on the Google My Business forum when a former employee left a review the business owner wanted removed. The business owner said the employee in question didn’t show up to her shift on multiple occasions, and the company had to let her go. In response, the employee left a negative review about the company, and argued her opinion was no different from that of a customer’s. Google wouldn’t remove the review in this case either.

Google Policy Update

However, it seems like these days are finally over. On December 14th Google finally updated its policies on reviews, so any reviews left by ex-employees will be removed. From now on, Google will consider these reviews a conflict of interest. From now on, businesses won’t need to worry about these reviews. From now on, Google should be on you and your business’s side.