Can non-disparagement clauses curb bad employee reviews?

By: Ann Potratz

Publication: Employment Law & Regulatory Alert

Date Posted: 01/29/2020

Non-Disparagement Clause

If former employees have something to say after leaving a company, where do they turn? Much to the chagrin of most HR professionals, they often turn to online review platforms, especially those that allow anonymous posts. Employers are trying something new to stop them: the non-disparagement clause.

Non-disparagement clauses

Non-disparagement clauses are contractual agreements that prohibit one party from criticizing another, and they are often found in employment and severance contracts. Initially created to guard company reputations generally within the confines of a few insular industries, they’ve recently gained traction due to the rise of the online review. Violation of these clauses usually results in a monetary penalty, like the repayment of a severance package, or legal action.


Key to remember: Non-disparagement clauses can help stop employees from posting negative reviews, but they can be costly and tough to enforce. Consider creating a culture that encourages honest feedback from the start, instead.

About the author
Ann Potratz - Human Resources Editor

Ann is an editor on the Human Resources Publishing Team, she specializes in employment law issues such as discrimination, sexual harassment, background checks, terminations, and security.

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