Employment lawyer shares PSA via ‘anonymous’ employment surveys

A lawyer warns employees to be wary of anonymous surveys in the workplace, warning that despite what they’ve been told, they may not be as anonymous.

In a recent video that has been viewed more than 500,000 times, TikTok user Paige Sparks (@lawyerpaige) told viewers that there isn’t much legal protection for the anonymous surveys they may fill out at work.

“I don’t care what they tell you, these things aren’t anonymous,” Sparks says in the clip. “…”I’m not saying they lie to you, but there’s no legal obligation for them to make sure it’s anonymous.”

@lawyerpaige #law #legal #lawyer #legaltiktok #lawyersoftiktok #work #hr #anonymous #employment #employmentlaw ♬ Monkeys Spinning Monkeys – Kevin MacLeod & Kevin The Monkey

Sparks, who practices labor law according to her website, says that barring unlawful discrimination or retaliation, there is nothing the law can do to prevent recruiters from sharing survey results with managers.

“Responding to your company survey is like your company email—they can access or check it anytime,” Sparks said. “I always say it’s better to be safe than sorry and just pretend the person you’re complaining about is reading this report so it can’t be used against you because if they do, you might not have much of it legal process.”

According to Harvard Business Review, employees are more likely to take surveys when they are confirmed to remain anonymous and verified that no individual survey can be linked to a specific employee. The publication also found that employees respond differently when a survey is filled out physically on paper versus electronically via a computer, which can have a unique electronic fingerprint.

There is also a difference between anonymous and confidential surveys. The latter means that employees share personally identifiable information, but the information remains confidential.

Commenters on the Sparks video said they often had to deal with harmful effects related to anonymous surveys.

“I literally experienced this in the dental lab I worked at,” said one commenter. “Our entire department took part in an ‘anonymous survey’ that was used against us.”

“Of course they aren’t [anonymous]!” Another commenter added. “My abusive manager at Disney used to come up to me with QUOTE! Lesson learned.”

Others mentioned that using a third party to conduct surveys provides some additional protection.

“We use third party vendors so it’s completely anonymous,” one person commented. “I think it depends on the company. We really care about our employees and their feedback.”

The Daily Dot contacted Paige via email and TikTok comment.


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*Initial publication: January 31, 2023 12:47 pm CST

Allyson Waller

Allyson Waller is a freelance writer for the Daily Dot. She is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and has written for other publications such as the New York Times and the Miami Herald. Outside of the journalistic world, her joys include delving into book recommendations from TikTok, listening to pop culture podcasts, and playing with her dog, Theo.

Allyson Waller

https://www.dailydot.com/irl/anonymous-work-surveys/ Employment lawyer shares PSA via ‘anonymous’ employment surveys

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