We will meet Susan Bendavid at Lewitt Hackman in a future blog. Her job is to frighten employees and their contingency lawyers away from The Sliding Door Company. And she's good at it! OK, not so much with me, but I'm sure with others.
But then, Lewitt Hackman know all about people like me too. Here's a link to an article on their website that was posted only LAST WEEK (Makes me wonder...) called Online Negativity: How to Fight Back. Quoting from the article:
But the despair over negative online content is partly misplaced. While the internet benefits from principles of free speech, First Amendment protection has limits. Increasingly, victims, lawyers and other consultants discover creative ways to fight back against improper negative online speech. This article discusses several strategies.So, to be clear here - the purpose of this article is to explain how it is possible to limit someone's First Amendment rights through "several strategies".
Review and Rating Websites. At sites like Angie's List, Avvo, Yelp, and TripAdvisor, satisfied or dissatisfied customers, or students in the case of the professor/teacher ratings sites, can post compliments, but can also post rants, criticisms or even false information.Yes, and the reader depends on the honesty and integrity of the reviewer - just like they depend on the honesty and integrity of the person they purchased their product or service from. When someone is dishonest on the internet, it tends to show up loud and clear! The complaints gathered from Yelp reviews are REPEATED by multiple complainants. That means reviewers have conspired to produce the same story of problems on multiple web pages or somebody at The Sliding Door Company isn't being honest.
Revenge Websites. These sites invite submissions, purported facts, embarrassing photos or other content as a way to obtain vengeance for perceived wrongs done against them by ex-friends, ex-lovers, employers, co-workers, neighbors, or others.In other words, websites that allow comments are "inviting submissions". After dispensing bullying and humiliation to others for years, maybe TSDC should expect to be "embarrassed" by their activities.
Social Media. Social platforms allow negative comments like Facebook posts, You Tube comments, Tweets or Reddit posts, all with potential to go viral quickly.Yes, this is true. Is the point that there are LOTS of ways to expose companies that are doing harm? Or that companies who harm customers and employees need the legal wisdom of Lewitt Hackman?
Information Hacks. Private content, such as internal emails and memos from within Sony, or subscriber identities from the Ashley Madison website, for example, can be exposed.OK, I have to admit, I haven't checked Ashley Madison to see if I can dig up any dirt... yet. I will certainly expose internal emails and memos from within The Sliding Door Company - showing fraudulent activities. It's kinda what whistleblowers do.
Personal Sites. False or defamatory statements are easily made on blogs or other sites.Yes, but as I mentioned, lying is not so easy to do on the internet. Eventually the truth comes out. My blog is open for comments - in case I misrepresented anything. And seriously, nobody needs to lie about anything with The Sliding Door Company, the TRUTH provides plenty to work with.
Challenges to Fighting BackCheck out the example they give - about a lawyer who couldn't prove defamation (LMAO).
Free speech has also been used to protect anonymous online posters. For example, Thomson v. Doeconcerned an anonymous review on a site that posts reviews and ratings of lawyers. The lawyer was accused of lacking basic business skills, detachment from fiduciary duties, professional failures, and not protecting a client. The lawyer subpoenaed the website (Avvo) seeking the poster's identity. The Washington State Court of Appeals relied on the First Amendment to rule that because the lawyer did not make a prima facie evidentiary showing of defamation, the subpoena would not be enforced.Well, I'm not anonymous. And if defamation can be proven (making false statements) why haven't the experts at Lewitt Hackman proven I have defamed someone at The Sliding Door Company? My ONLY defense is that I am NOT making false statements.
Get it? This blog has to be TRUTHFUL in order to exist!
Practical Strategies and Legal Tools for Fighting BackOK, now we're getting to the nitty gritty... What's the recommended strategy for The Sliding Door Company?
Proactive Conduct. While self-evident, one way for businesses and individuals to reduce the incidence of negative comments is to use care in their activities and operations, acting properly, trying to avoid giving offense, delivering quality products and services at fair prices, being attentive to customers, apologizing promptly and sincerely for mistakes, and being kind and nice.With ALL due respect to the experts at Lewitt Hackman... DUH! Doing the right thing is what this blog is about. You call it "Proactive Conduct"... I call it "Stop FUCKING OVER YOUR CUSTOMERS AND EMPLOYEES". But I suppose this is a case of semantics. We know TSDC isn't about to change their style... so what other suggestions do you have?
Take No Action. (this one suits TSDC better) Sometimes taking no action is the best action. No one wants a negative email or tweet, or negative online review on Yelp, RipOff Report or elsewhere about themselves. But a response that disputes the review, or criticizes the person who posted it, may have an effect that is opposite what is desired. That response may draw more attention to the message. Instead, silence may avoid drawing attention, so that the message soon becomes obscured by hopefully more favorable messages.One way to avoid RipOff reports is to stop ripping your customers off. And yes, we saw what happened when Betty and Sheryl tried to answer Yelp reviews. Taking no action has served The Sliding Door Company for quite some time. Silence avoids drawing attention to their problems... The Sliding Door Complaint Blog will correct this so this won't be a solution for them. So far, no help from the experts in this article... let's see what else they offer...
Ask Poster to Remove or Modify. Other possibilities include communicating with the poster directly or offering some restitution or discount in the future. Where someone posted a negative online review they can be asked politely to remove or edit it. Sometimes a polite response setting forth an explanation of what happened is helpful.At The Sliding Door Company, you can occasionally parlay removing a bad Yelp review into getting the ACTUAL SERVICE you paid for! My office was next to the sales manager's and I heard this happen time and time again.
Post a Polite Response. On many sites, bulletin boards and forums it is possible to post a response. A brief, respectful, even-tempered response explaining the circumstance, expressing regret for what happened, or for the poster’s experience, and if appropriate, mentioning corrective action that was or will be taken, can partially neutralize some ill effects of a negative post. It does this by providing an alternative view to those who read the post.Oh, if only this was possible for the people at TSDC. Instead, they come on-line calling their customers liars. That there is "two sides to every story" is what they hope unsuspecting prospective customers to believe. Sadly, there is only one side to this story - and sugar-coating the horrible customer service they provide isn't good business. Improving their products and services is their only hope, and again, they have no intention nor desire to do this.
Cease and Desist Demand. The next level of escalation is a formal demand that the poster “cease and desist” from their presumably unlawful conduct.And this brings us back to Susan Bendavid - whose Cease and Desist Demand to me launched this blog. I will be posting Susan's letter with her extraordinary presumptions and threats in a future blog. I have written her to let her know, BTW, and even the article suggests:
Letters with a more aggressive tone are also possible. However, as with everything else, cease and desist letters should be drafted with care, as it is fairly usual for recipients of these letters to post these on line as well.Guilty! I suspect Lewitt Hackman will certainly line their pockets by dispensing this type of bad advice to clients. In this case, I'm pretty sure nobody will doubt that trying to bully someone like me (an already internationally known whistleblower) was not too smart - from a business sense (I mean, for TSDC's business - Lewitt Hackman will benefit, certainly).
Get Other Posts. An effective countermeasure to negative posts is to enlist other customers, friends and associates to post their own comments or reviews. This method may have the effect of causing negative reviews to be pushed down in the feed that contains such information.This is borderline unethical... so count on TSDC to do it. In fact they do. We saw Sheryl Hai-Ami do exactly this on Yelp. We saw an employee response on Indeed as well. Yelp even realizes this happens and removes these one-shot bliss-ninny reviews to the "not recommended" page. I have other examples too.
DMCA Takedown Notice. The DMCA includes a procedure for notifying internet websites of content that infringes a copyright and requiring them to remove that content. Under the notice and takedown procedure, a copyright owner submits a notification, including a list of specified elements, to the service provider’s designated agent.OK, now we're getting somewhere... and the irony would be fantastic! That the company which has clearly stolen the intellectual property of Simpson, Adams Rite and others could make a "copyright" claim to make sure their crimes don't see the light of day makes me want to giggle. Let's move on...
Complain to and Enlist Assistance of Government. A course of action that is inexpensive is to seek assistance of government officials and agencies.Yes, PLEASE, let's get more government agencies involved. I have saved us some trouble. I have contacted OSHA, the DLSE, and the ACLU. I have the Department of Justice on speed-dial. I will be contacting the State Attorney General's office soon. I can't wait! Seriously, let's do this!
The Federal Trade Commission, U.S. Attorney General, state consumer protection agency, state attorney general, local consumer protection agencies, U.S. senators, U.S. representatives, state senators and state assembly members, and county and city officials are all possible sources of assistance.Great advice, except that these options are for people who are on the right side of the law. For example - Consumer protection agencies tend to protect consumers, not the people who are committing crimes and fraud against them. The Sliding Door Company can't benefit from this advice. Besides, the rest of this article seems to be providing advice for people who want to work on the edges of the law - sneaking around behind the scenes and complaining about posts to prevent legitimate complaints from surfacing. That's more their style. Companies should go with their strengths.
Litigation. Because of costs, time commitments and unpleasantness, litigation is rarely a first or preferred course of action. Rather, it is typically a course of last resort if the others have failed, or if assessment indicates the others are not likely to succeed.This is TSDC's best and only hope. Let's go to court! Let a judge and jury decide who is being honest and who is lying for personal gain. I'm not doing this anonymously... you don't have to find me. I'm right here and I stand behind every single word I have said!
Pay the Ransom. Some sites claim that signing up for their paid services have no affect on the placement of comments, but widespread anecdotal evidence disputes that. So while not first or desirable on anyone’s list, another choice is to sign up for the services the site offers. Some business owners complain the fee is akin to a shakedown charge offered by organized crime or others for so-called “protection,” but it may be a less costly choice to avoid further damage to the reputation of an individual or business.Yeah, we're not doing that here. This was Susan Bendavid's accusation - that by asking for my severance package after being illegally terminated, I was attempting to extort money from TSDC. This type of sick thinking by bottom-feeding lawyers who spend time thinking up ways that the First Amendment can be violated is exactly why this blog is here.
This isn't about a "ransom" or "protection" money. Nobody is going after an innocent business that simply made a mistake. This is a company that for YEARS has defrauded customers - and harmed employees and is now being exposed for it.
So, no... don't "pay the ransom"... Nobody wants your "protection" money. TRUTH is all that matters here.
Use Online Reputation Service. Online services claim they can help remove negative online postings. Examples include ReputationDefender and Integrity Defenders.Wow... I'm learning something here. I didn't know these even existed. Well, they won't be touching this blog in any case. So what readers can take from this is that TSDC may be using services like these ALREADY to ensure negative comments don't show up on Yelp and other sites. Good thing this blog is here!
Thanks to Lewitt Hackman for this wonderful and very timely information. I don't agree with the word "Negativity" in the title... it's only "negative" for the Company that is producing the complaints. It's very "POSITIVE" for consumers to have this information!
Considering the timing of the article, I kinda feel like it was written because of this very blog. I can't wait to see which of these many options they intend to try first.
BTW, here's a link to one of my other whistleblowing blogs. I guess I'm supposed to be afraid of Senators (per the article above). In this case, Senator Mitch McConnell's daughter abused children. I blog or post about this on-line every year or so. I'm still here... my blog is still here - even the newspaper article is still on-line. Why?
Because the truth doesn't bow to bullies.