This toxic manager, let's call him "John." He is the director of the department and reports directly to C-level owners of a mid-sized American SMB (roughly 200 employees). To to quickly list some of his attributes:

  • Absolutely radiates negativity and pessimism: everything is a problem, there are no solutions.
  • Consistently in a bad mood (I'd say about 80% of the time) and makes no effort to be even remotely pleasant to talk with or be around (at least to his "subordinates" - with his superiors he's somehow always just lovely).
  • Micromanages trivial and minute things for no apparent reason
  • Refuses to take blame for his mistakes
  • Weaponizes any mistake you make (no matter how small) to use against you when you ask for a promotion, or even just an increase in duties without more pay.
  • Passive-aggressive and manipulative/controlling
  • Extreme trust issues which led to him constantly overloading himself with work, causing delays and frustrations with his department from other departments.
    • Fails to delegate even the simplest tasks because of said trust issues.

I left the company last month by choice, I was not fired or even laid off. I was fortunate enough to secure a better position with a better company, but honestly the company I left (where said toxic manager is still employed) really is a great company and the only reason I started looking for employment elsewhere was because of how utterly horrible and insufferable my manager was. Yes, I am still angry and perhaps even bitter. Yes, I realize I should just move on and put this behind me...but I still have friends at the old company that are suffering under the draconian and toxic "leadership" of John...and I hate the thought of it, not to mention any new-hires.

Right before I left the company I privately messaged the CEO to tell him I'd be happy to come back one day, provided John was gone. Without going into detail, I added that I saw John leaving as an inevitability. The CEO is very laissez-faire of hands-off (which is good, don't get me wrong), but he surely knows about this toxic manager by now and continues to do nothing. I am not exaggerating when I say I am at least the 3rd, if not the 4th, person this manager has driven off. I held nothing back in my exit interview, but I happen to know for a fact that the guy before me did the same thing (our time at the company overlapped) and nothing came of it whatsoever.

I am going to write a negative Glassdoor review of the company. However, I'm unsure if I should call "John" out by name or not. If I don't, nothing will change. Of course I don't think a Glassdoor will provoke a lot of change, but I want to do something.

  • 92
    Hello, have you read glassdoor's policies or FAQs? Jan 16, 2019 at 13:35
  • 6
    Is there a chance that referencing the manager by role would uniquely identify one person? For example, if you reference a financial manager but the company only has one person with this title.
    – user34587
    Jan 16, 2019 at 13:37
  • 8
    This is what your exit interview is for - if the company cares, they'll ask why you're leaving and you can say because of you and "John" ... if they don't care, then you won't be asked. If all the people leaving cite "John" as their reason, it's up to HR & his manager to establish IF there's a problem and remove him. Do not assume there's a problem just because you're leaving... it might be a policy that works very well for the company in ways you don't know.
    – UKMonkey
    Jan 16, 2019 at 14:59
  • 4
    The manager may be a good manager - just that you had a clash of personalities perhaps. It happens.
    – Ed Heal
    Jan 16, 2019 at 15:01
  • 6
    @UKMonkey I would advice against mentioning that you're leaving because of you and "John" in your exit interview. There is no benefit in doing so, and it could only possibly harm in your job search.
    – Daan
    Jan 16, 2019 at 15:23

5 Answers 5


No. This is explicitly prohibited on Glassdoor:

We allow reviews that name individuals in the highest positions in a company who have broad influence over the work environment, as long as the review describes the individual’s behavior or performance at work. Individuals in this category include those who are the public face of the company (C-Suite, Executive Director, President, Owner, Founder, etc.) We believe this information is generally representative of a company’s culture and can be informative to job candidates.

We do not allow reviews that include negative comments about identifiable individuals outside of this group.

(bold added, document last updated 16th June 2018 at time of quotation)

See also Does Glassdoor allow names in reviews? for further clarification on what is allowed.

My advice? Let it go, you've already moved on and I very much doubt that "John" spends any time thinking about you and you no longer have any need to spend any time thinking about him.

Holding a grudge is like drinking poison and hoping someone else dies.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – user44108
    Jan 17, 2019 at 16:39
  • 4
    I would say it ceases to be a grudge if you can do real harm to the target of it.
    – Vality
    Jan 17, 2019 at 19:41
  • 1
    Agreeed. But then, that is vengeance. One might want to respect that glassdoor does not want to be a platform for that.... Jan 18, 2019 at 13:43
  • 1
    I thought that was Brexit that was like that
    – Strawberry
    Jan 18, 2019 at 14:03

I will agree with you that John sounds like a terrible manager, and not a great person at that.

That said, I would advise against calling him out by name. Doing that will look incredibly aggressive, and might make people view your review with less weight than they originally would have. If you start making accusatory statements towards a particular employee, it makes you look petty, and more concerned with that manager than with the company itself. In addition, it is possible you open yourself to accusations of slander, and you don't want to be mixed up in that.

The way I see it, there is a fault with the company itself if they can't manage their managers. You want your review to be about the company, not the people employed there.

I would suggest including something along the lines of

"The company has some serious problems with managing their management. One manager in particular, though I won't name names, is guilty of (...). I would strongly recommend against seeking employment with this company."

This way, you let potential applicants know that there is a serious management problem, but you avoid seeming petty. In fact, you seem even more level-headed by taking the high road and not pointing fingers.

And if that isn't enough to dissuade you, take a look at Motosubatsu's answer. GlassDoor does not allow what you are thinking of doing anyway. That said, I think it's important to know why it is a bad idea anyway, regardless of the actual policy in place.

  • 9
    Plus, as @motosubatsu said, it is not allowed on Glassdoor. Still, I think it's important to know that it's a bad idea, even if it were to be allowed
    – Cubemaster
    Jan 16, 2019 at 13:44
  • 6
    I'd absolutely agree - were it allowed it would still be a bad idea.
    – motosubatsu
    Jan 16, 2019 at 13:53
  • @Cubemaster you should add your comment to the answer (and even link the other answer) as it's quite integral: it's disallowed, but even if it were allowed, you shouldn't because your review will look more professional / have more weight if you don't
    – Tas
    Jan 16, 2019 at 22:38

Everyone has had a bad boss, and while yours sounds bad... Here's some things that bosses I've had have done.

  • Timed my bathroom breaks
  • Threw a block of wood at someone.
  • Diddled a coworker while on the clock
  • beat a plastic box fan with a 2x4 while it was running, sending parts flying.
  • Had a man standing out in the hot sun for 8 hours without a break or water.

and more that's even more outrageous.

This is not to say that you have no right to be upset, but your situation demonstrates why a common answer given on this site is "find another job"

That said, again, everyone has had a bad boss.

If you call him out, you are going to be the one who looks bad and will be dismissed as a "bitter, former employee, who is taking pot-shots now that he has no fear of repercussions"

Worse, this will make John look like a victim of cyber bullying. God help you if it goes viral and people want to track down the vicious former employee being so mean. Don't think this can't happen.

You've already moved on physically, now it's time to move on mentally. Let the matter drop. As you said, the CEO is already aware of the situation. Nothing will be done on that end. All that will happen is you exposing yourself to liability (yes, John could sue you for libel) and probably get banned from whatever site you post this on.


  • 5
    @RichardU the point is that "everyone has had a bad boss" is OK as a statement but a rather long list of how yours was worse doesn't really help the answer or the suggestion to not let that bother you any more.
    – VLAZ
    Jan 17, 2019 at 13:55
  • @vlaz again, missing the point. The point isn't that I had a bad boss, the point is that EVERYONE has had a bad boss, and yes, there are bosses far worse than this person has had. and BECAUSE OF THAT POINT he will be viewed as petty if he does what he's threatening to do, and if he calls a person out by name, it wouldn't require much footwork to figure out who did it. Jan 17, 2019 at 14:03
  • 2
    "The point isn't that I had a bad boss" yet putting so much words into how your boss was worse shifts the "my boss was worse" as the main message here. I don't know what else to say, as we're going around in circles. I'm telling you that having that doesn't help the message of the answer. You are trying to convince me of...the message of the answer. If anything, having this discussion lends weight to the "my boss was worse" section being superfluous at best. I can't see sure how trying to convince me of something completely different makes the section any more relevant.
    – VLAZ
    Jan 17, 2019 at 14:08
  • 3
    Stories about your own bad bosses don't answer the question.
    – Reid
    Jan 18, 2019 at 0:56
  • 1
    @vlaz It's called "Backing up your point with examples". It's how you make a point. See some of my other answers for reference. Jan 18, 2019 at 12:42

What are you whining about?

This guy has the character of a future president.

...but more seriously:

Find a new workplace.
( oh wait, you did, so what is it to you anymore?)
I agree, that is a very unpleasant work climate

It is sadly very often a tactic in company management NOT a toxic person.(whatever that is now...)

  • no fraternizing with subordinates
  • shattering any attempt of raise negotiations by pointing at employees' flaws and mistakes
  • management is always right and makes no mistakes, critique on management is insubordination
  • subordinates need to be controlled, dominated even pitted against each other to raise productivity and undermine insubordination
  • trust is a) not given but earned and b) trust in the wrong people can ruin a company

Did I forget any?

Oh yeah, be an ass and you won't be bothered...

  • Of course trust is earned...but after two years it became pretty clear the problem was not on my side. Not to mention my predecessor left for the exact same reasons as I did. It's not coincidental. Jan 17, 2019 at 4:37

You're angry. You want revenge. There's nothing wrong with that. It's very natural. Just get an envelope, address it to him (at work), then fill it with glitter and mail it to him. THEN LEAVE IT AT THAT. The sooner you can let go, the sooner it will stop hurting you.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .