What is Uline's Scam?
Okay, so just like thousands of people before me...I applied for a position at Uline - I won't even say what the postion is because I'm now almost pretty sure it doesn't really matter. When I got the call for the interview, I accepted - giving myself enough days to research this company at great length prior to meeting with the HR rep.
Here are some things I found out:
· Started in the US, recently opened distribution center in Canada
· Private owned – Run by original owners (husband and wife)
· Virtually all every website you visit has the exact same copy and paste profile…Liz and *** started this company with one product out of their basement…expansion…416 page catalogue…
· 30% growth rate (accusations that this is an unjustified claim – but there are legitimate documents providing factual information)
· Continuous job postings (posted for as long as 1 to 2 years)
· Rigorous pre-screening testing (personality, sales, IQ, technology…)
· Long list of employee complaints
· High Turn-over
· Strict and Restrictive (Claims: policies, dress code, food at desk, etc)
· Petty Harassment (Claims: Errors made by employees are posted for all to see – Employees that make mistakes are reprimanding in front of peers in team meetings to purposely humiliate them)
· Communistic Culture (Almost to the point of a Cult)
· Discriminatory (Sex, Race and Religion) (Claims go as far as being asked in the interview the applicants ethnic background and religious beliefs – apparently in the last interview, video conference with the owners, after all the business type questions they will attempt to be friendly and engage in small talk as if you’re best friends – thus opening the door for these types of ‘harmless questions’)
For more detailed description of complaints:
The best and most informative post is from David in Evanston:
“I am a former employee of Uline. I worked there for a little over 3 years before deciding that I was not in a position that aligned itself with my career goals and moved on. I thought I would share my opinions of the benefits and drawbacks of working for Uline. If you want the short answer: the drawbacks surpass the benefits by far.
1. Bonuses - Uline does offer bonuses in a variety of forms. Some are designed to give employees some additional cash around that ever expensive holiday/end of year period. Others are incentives for smaller cash amounts on a weekly basis. If you are an individual who values monetary reward over a cozy work environment, you will enjoy a career here.
2. Growth - Contrary to what so many posters seem to think, the growth rate at Uline is actually a very real figure. The constant posting of job openings do not reflect excessive attrition, though some of it is. The majority of job openings stem from a growth rate over the last 5 years that has averaged around 30%, and internal promotions. Which leads me to....
3. Promotion Potential - If you couple the amazing growth rate with a demonstrated desire to advance, you are bound to move vertically at Uline, and quickly. After 6 months at my entry level position, I was promoted several levels in a single job, and 6 months later was promoted another level. Again, if you are hungry for advancement and monetary gain, Uline might be a great fit for you.
1. Culture - Uline is run much like communist China. While the rhetoric, slogans, and mottos all focuses on community and team effort, the majority of decisions and activities center around leader worship of the family owners. President Uihlein = Chairman Mao. The leadership is very top drive, with little room for fresh ideas from the field. Innovative thought and ideas that challenge the established order are crushed like political dissenters in Tiananmen Square. If you work at Uline, you better be ready to march lock step with your beloved Chairman.
2. Restructuring - As mentioned in another post, I can confirm that Uline is a fan of "restructuring" a department to get rid of undesirable employees, i.e. innovative thinkers or individuals who every have vocalized their thought that "we can do this better." In my three years I watched my department get restructured over 5 times. Each time, undesirable individuals were not fired but instead relegated to positions that were meant to demean them and eventually inspire them to quit. One example: A manager who at one point oversaw over 50 employees was reassigned after a "restructuring" to sitting at a fax machine and typing in the orders that arrived. She left a month later. Employees at Uline are rarely fired or demoted, the management prefers to shame them into leaving on their own. I suspect it has something to do with a desire to not pay unemployment insurance.
3. Micro-management - If you value working on your own and self management, avoid this company like the Spice Girls greatest hits CD. Some examples of micro-management:
- You are not allowed to have food at your desk. To unsure you are following the rules, random searches of your work space are conducted. I was reprimanded for having a package of gum and a box of tea bags in a drawer. If you thought bringing Krispy Kreme's to work was a good jester of friendship, prepare to be met with endless questions about who gave you approval to bring food product into the pristine work environment. Any company that makes Orbitz contraband black market material is out of control.
- The dress code is fake, and borderline sexist. It states women can wear pant suits, but the unwritten rule is that the company President (a woman) thinks a proper lady should be in a skirt. I often worked with new employees, and was endlessly encouraged by management to emphasize the preference of skirts over pants. To drive home the point, the rule on pant suits was changed so that the top and bottom had to have the same product label to prove it was "matching". If you have any sort of issue with your manager demanding to see the label on the inside of your pants, you may opt out of this company. Oh, and ladies if you enjoy wearing backless shoes, prepare to purchase a whole new foot wardrobe. They are strictly forbidden. Dressing professionally is one thing, but Uline's dress code won't be happy until it drives the women's movement into the ocean.
Guys, if you hate dressing up, I sincerely hope you don't mind answering a phone in a call center for 8 hours in a dress shirt and tie. No one will ever see you, but you'll look better then you did last Valentine's Day.
I could go on and on, but that would be just like a broken pencil: pointless (much like having a good idea is at Uline). I would say it boils down to environment over money. Pick your poison.”
Evidence of complaints:
Micro-Managed – Deep Software Inc – Employee Monitoring software. This goes beyond a standard Quality Monitoring for a contact center.
To read more about this:
Lawsuit – Wrongful dismissal: Brian Perez v. Uline, Inc., et al.
Details: Wrongful termination, breach of oral contract, failure to pay overtime wages in violation of the statute, and defamation, claiming the court erred in enforcing a severance agreement that was against public policy contained in USERRA and obtained under duress.
Lawsuit – (Pending) Patent: Fellowes, Inc. v. Uline, Inc.
BBB Rating: Better Business Bureau seems to have 2 ratings for them: B rating and satisfactory (and that only means that they have been in business for 12 months and are meeting customer standards)
After all the testing but before the interview you must fill out an application form. The form basically gives Uline the permission to perform the following checks on you: Criminal, Background, Credit and Driver’s. Along with your full name including middle name (and maiden name if applicable) you will need to provide your full address, email, phone, Birthday and gender.
You will also need to provide your full SIN number as well as your Driver’s License Number.
You will also sign a full release and discharge of any and all claims sustained by yourself arising from the disclosed information above and waive all rights thereto.
Can anyone say identity theft?
Who’s to say after I fill out these papers what Uline will do with them – there has been no offer of employment yet AND no valid reason for the requested details.
From the release:
“I acknowledge that the information so disclosed may be confirmed only by a comparison of the fingerprints on file to which the information relates and my fingerprints.” What the …!?!?
This company is insanely anal. They have hired an outside company (Hire Performance Inc.) to do the following:
· Reference Checks
· Employment Verification
· Educational/Credential Verifications
· Criminal Record Check
· Vulnerable Criminal Check
· Credit Check
· Drivers Abstract Check
· Exit Interview
· Personality Profile
· Sales Aptitude Profile
From High Performance website:
“Other advantages of a credit bureau file search are that it lists employer names, may reveal undisclosed employers and provides address history.”
At what point in the hiring process would we order a background check?
Many of our clients like to order reports in the final selection stage, when interviews and/or testing have narrowed the number of candidates to three or four. Clients are reminded however that ordering criminal record searches and obtaining driver license numbers directly from the employee require that a conditional offer of employment is made first. Many of our clients order pre-employment reports on candidates they have short listed and then have us do the criminal record and driver record searches on their final chosen candidate afterwards.
They will check every claim you put on your resume – if you put that you have a Bachelor’s of Arts and Science (but really you haven’t yet completed it) this will earn you a No Thanks Email…
Do Not stretch the truth on your resume – not even a little bit!
This may sound all impressive, like Uline believes in hiring only the very best of employees BUT I’ve worked for fortune 500 companies, Top 50 Best Companies to Work for, High profile Billion dollar organizations and they have never requested the extensive details above. I’ve been asked to perform personality tests, and give consent for the standard background check – but give my SIN number before I’ve even been interviewed??? Woah RED FLAG!!! And they are not just asking for a SIN number, but a drivers licence number as well. Once you review the entire scope of what they have asked for…***, that is A LOT of my personal information – in fact, enough to say you’re ME!
What the Ontario Human Rights Commission Has to say:
More details: http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/issues/employment
What about applications forms?
It is not acceptable to include questions that relate directly or indirectly to the prohibited grounds of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, age, record of offences, marital status, same-sex partnership status, family status or handicap.
The types of questions that are acceptable are those that ask if it is legal for a candidate to work in Canada, or if the candidate has the necessary skills needed to perform the job (such as fluency in English for a receptionist’s position).
Think Before You Ink
October 2nd, 2008
Watch out for job ads that sound too good to be true. If they claim to offer large amounts of money and require no experience, they probably are just looking for your personal information - to sell to junk email advertising companies or to steal your identity
Watch out for:
Vague ads – research the company on your own to make sure it is legitimate and that the position actually exists. See if they have a website, email address or telephone number, and do a little research. Legitimate employers have nothing to hide, and will be happy to discuss the exact nature of the work they are advertising and the rate and terms of pay if asked.
Somebody calling or emailing you to offer you a job on the spot – even if your resume / e-portfolio looks amazing, most companies will want to meet you in an interview
Employers that ask for personal information such as your birth date, banking information or SIN – offer this only after you’ve been hired
Research the company with the Better Business Bureau – they’ll be able to tell you if the company is legitimate or not, and if there have been any complaints about the company.