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Online Job Website Must Release Names Behind Disparaging Posts

Glassdoor describes itself as a job and recruiting website. It also allows company reviews to be posted by users, presumably employees with firsthand knowledge of an employer.

Between July 8, 2014, and June 30, 2015, ten anonymous reviews were posted on Glassdoor about Andra Group. One post was purportedly by an interview candidate and the others were by current and former Andra employees. These reviews claimed that Andra Group had illegal hiring practices, accused a supervisor of being racist and sexist, and claimed that illegal immigrants were hired to work there. Andra Group petitioned a Texas appellate court for the right to depose representatives from Glassdoor to learn the names of the anonymous posters. It wanted to investigate possible defamation or business disparagement claims.

The Texas appellate court ruled in Andra Group’s favor. Overruling Glassdoor’s First Amendment argument, the court found that the statements made by the posters were “not examples of rhetorical hyperbole or mere personal opinion. They are accusations of illegal conduct that are capable of being proved true or false.” Andra Group has claimed that the posts cost the business tens of thousands of dollars in new recruiting because qualified job applicants no longer wished to apply. Andra Group now has the right to take depositions related to two specific reviews on the Glassdoor website. Glassdoor wanted individuals to be able to speak freely about their experiences without fear of intimidation or retaliation.