Being A Yelp Reviewer Doesn't Make You A Yelp Employee , Rules Federal Judge

Chris CrumBusiness

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It's hard to believe that anybody thinks Yelp should pay them for the reviews they write, but some do, and some even banded together in a class action lawsuit against the company to try and seek out wages for reviews posted.

The suit was filed last year by reviewers who claimed they should be paid for performing "the exact same work" that people who are paid by Yelp do.

"This is a lawsuit merely to provide the wages to all writers of Yelp and not just the ones which Yelp, Inc. chooses to pay in wages," the complaint said.

A federal judge has now ruled that reviewers are volunteers, not employees (Duh.), and dismissed the suit. Courthouse News Service reports (via Consumerist):

Lead plaintiff Lily Jeung complained she was "hired" by Yelp, that Yelp controls reviewers' "work schedule and conditions" and that two of the three named plaintiffs were "fired" with "no warning and a flimsy explanation."
Seeborg found the plaintiffs "use the term 'hired' to refer to a process by which any member of the public can sign up for an account on the Yelp website and submit reviews, and the term 'fired' to refer to having their accounts involuntarily closed, presumably for conduct that Yelp contends breached its terms of service agreement."
But the reviewers' contributions to the site "at most would constitute acts of volunteerism," he wrote.

Yelp finds itself at the center of a lot of different kinds of lawsuits, but this is one of the sillier ones if not the silliest. To think that anyone could sign up for a Yelp account and post reviews and just expect to be compensated as an employee is laughable, and it's good to see that the court basically agreed.

Image via Yelp (Flickr)

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.