Finding a great place to work can be a major challenge, and the worst companies to work for in America often mistreat their employees in various ways. Carefully choosing an employer requires you to know which companies are the worst places to work, including the worst retail companies to work for in the nation. Thankfully, places like Glassdoor can provide you with the information that you need to avoid the worst companies to work for in the country.
Our Methodology Section
We don’t just choose the sites listed here at random. We carefully research multiple factors to ensure that everything is as accurate and detailed as possible. So, while we did check out Glassdoor for these rankings, we didn’t stick entirely with them as the only source. Our process starts by:
- Visiting Government Sites: There are many government websites that we visited to make sure that our information is accurate. These gave us a better context for each of these companies.
- Finding Authoritative News Publications: We linked news sources throughout this article whenever possible to ensure you’re up to date.
- Getting Information From Brand Websites: Though brand websites will always report positive data about their company, we checked brand sites for signs of duplicity.
- Checking Out Employee Reviews: Finally, we check with employee review sites to see what actual workers are saying about the worst companies to work for in America.
- Updating Data Regularly: Whenever we publish articles like these, we make sure to update the data to be the most accurate possible for your needs.
The 20 Worst Places to Work for In America
The worst companies to work for in the country typically include a lot of retail businesses. The worst retail companies to work for often create a variety of untenable situations that make life difficult and cause a lot of concerns. Read through each of these entries to figure out which of the worst places to work you should avoid at all costs when finding a new career.
20. Charter Communications
Charter Communications continually ranks very low in customer reviews. According to the Better Business Bureau, they have a 1.08 out of 5 from 3,305 customer reviews, though BBB does give them an A+ rating. As Vox points out, telecommunications companies operate in an oligopolistic or even a monopolistic environment. As a result, they can get away with practices other business can't. Sadly, it is easy for sloppiness in one aspect of a company's operation to spread through the rest and the treatment of employees is not exempt from this issue. Therefore, Charter is on this list.
19. Frontier Communications
According to Glassdoor, Frontier Communications is the second-worst place to work in America, though our research found other places worthy of derision. Frontier was also pointed out by Yahoo as a poor place to work. It took some hard hits in recent times and because of bad decision-making from the top, it declared bankruptcy in 2020, causing cut corners and operations. The telecommunications company is now out of bankruptcy, though that wouldn't have been possible if ti wasn't for its shareholders handing ownership over to its bondholders. Unsurprisingly, its employees took hits during the scramble to avoid bankruptcy, the subsequent scramble to recover from bankruptcy, and the period in between.
Companies like Rent-a-Center typically get poor reviews because they often work with people who aren’t staying in an area long and who may have disposable incomes, such as students with loan money. Rent-to-own businesses have gained a reputation for targeting people unable to secure financing for big purchases from better sources and are often considered as predatory as same-day lenders. As a result, people see them as predatory for much the same reason as payday lenders. Given that kind of thoroughness in the pursuit of profit, it isn't hard to see how one of the most successful rent-to-own businesses in the United States made it onto this list.
Customer service is never a great career field, as Thought Catalog states here. Alorica is a customer service BPO, meaning it handles that part of the business practice for its commercial clients. It's also called one the worst places to work. Working in customer service is often a miserable experience. That is particularly true when customer service representatives can't do anything about callers' problems. For context, Alorica is a customer service BPO, meaning it handles that part of the business process for its commercial clients.
16. CVS Health
CVS Health took a huge reputation hit in 2020. For example, it bought the health insurance provider Aetna in 2018. Similarly, it owns a chain of pharmacies called CVS Pharmacy. Furthermore, The New York Times reported that four of its pharmacies incurred fines for bad businesses practice. This is something that doesn't happen often. Similarly, many of its employees continually report that it's unsafe to work there or that they get poor pay and compensation, which makes it hard to suggest working there. Under those circumstances, it isn't hard to see why CVS Health has a persistent issue with employee satisfaction.
Fairly or unfairly, people tend not to like telecommunications companies. Still, there are always standouts loathed more than most of their competitors. For example, Dish Network has a notorious reputation, getting particularly poor customer reviews on Glassdoors for technical issues and poor customer service. Presumably, that makes an unpleasant work experience for the technicians and customer service representatives who interact with irate customers the most. That said, DISH has improved a little from last year's ranking and its all-time low of the worst company in America in 2012.
14. LA Fitness
Though smaller than some of the companies here, this California-based gym franchise is notorious for low pay, poor management, and inadequate training. In one notorious instance, an employer said, "I was told that my pay was gonna be $2,500 a month," only to find out he would make just $7.25 an hour or minimum wage as a social media specialist. Such questionable practises make it obvious as to how LA Fitness earned its spot here.
Dillard's is another department store chain that is experiencing the same issues as Kmart did before basically disappearing. The difference is that it's at an earlier point in the process, meaning it might have time to turn things around. However, with terrible employee retention, poor management, and old-fashioned practices, Dillard's might be in trouble like Kmart. The difference is that it is at an earlier point in the process, meaning there might still be time for it to turn things around. Regardless, the management is feeling the pressure, which in turn, means the employees are feeling the pressure.
12. Family Dollar Stores
Dollar Stores are a notable exception to the general trend of brick-and-mortar stores getting hammered in recent years. However, they're consistently ranked one of the very worst places to work on the Complaints Board, with only 85 of the nearly 2,200 complaints getting resolved as of October 2023. It's also become notorious because of how cheap it was for consumers.
Speedway consistently gets Better Business Bureau complaints and rarely employs satisfied employees. Running a gas station is hard work, Speedway is no exception to this rule. Already strenuous work becomes much more so when overseen by excessively demanding management. Of course, dollar stores have thin profit margins, meaning they are very interested in cost-cutting measures. Even so, Family Dollar Stores became notorious because of just how cheap it was. According to Business Insider, it was regularly making employees managers without managerial power to make them work overtime without receiving overtime pay.
10. Tyson Foods
Meat processors get a great deal of scrutiny. Often, that focuses on their treatment of animals. Tyson, one of the biggest, continually gets blasted for its poor treatment of animals, bad employee practices, and unethical practices. such as NPR reporting how managers betted on employees who would get COVID-19. It wasn't that long ago when Oxfam blasted Tyson Foods and its competitors for paying low wages to their employees, instituting practices that led to high injury rates in their employees, and instilling a sense of fear in their employees. Executives made promises. Even so, NPR reports Tyson Foods had to fire seven plant managers for betting on the number of employees who would catch COVID-19. That doesn't suggest good things about its lower management's attitude towards its frontline workers.
9. The Children's Place
The Children's Place sells clothing and accessories for exactly the demographic one would expect based on its name. It repeatedly gets poor customer reviews and employee ratings based on low-quality products, bad customer service, and questionable ethics, such as underpaying employees. It seems to have the same employee issues as many other retailers with many other specialties. Still, its bad reputation suggests it is going above and beyond in this regard.
8. Steak 'n Shake
Steak 'n Shake is somewhere between fast food and fast casual. Chances are good interested individuals can guess its employee issues, which are by no means limited to this particular chain in its chosen industry. For example, they have very poor customer service, with very few complaints managed on the Complaints Board. It also gets hit hard for trying to underpay managers so bad that they have to sue for compensation. Moreover, the justice system already decided for two of the plaintiffs in one of the two lawsuits, which doesn't bode well for this company.
7. Regal Cinemas
Sometimes, jobs that seem fun are not so in real life. For instance, Regal Cinema employees don't seem to enjoy their jobs much even though people often imagine cinema workers as these carefree individuals who can watch movies whenever they want. Once again, financial pressure seems responsible for many of their woes. It gets very poor rankings from its employees on sites like Indeed. They've continually been called stressful, poorly run, and weakly managed.
6. Genesis Healthcare
Care is more important than ever before. An aging population means an increased demand for such services. The sad thing is that many employers in the industry struggle with balancing the need to meet this demand with the need to take care of their workers. As a result, both priorities often wind up suffering from it. Genesis Healthcare is doing so more than most. One employee's Indeed review was titled "Run away," which seems like a pretty common trend with this employer.
5. Forever 21
Forever 21 is a fast fashion retailer. Specifically, it's a fast fashion retailer known to make its employees work without overtime pay. Furthermore, it carries out time-consuming bag checks, which doesn't say much about its opinion of its employees. Under those circumstances, it would be strange if Forever 21 didn't have issues with its workforce. Perhaps that's why it's bottom line has struggled so much lately.
4. Activision Blizzard
Video game companies have a bad reputation when it comes to the treatment of their employees. They share issues with both tech and entertainment, which is perhaps unsurprising considering their connections to both. Essentially, video game companies often require their employees to regularly work unreasonable hours. That causes burnout. Unfortunately, video game companies continue because they can tap into the enthusiasm for their products to recruit fresh talent.
For several years, Activision Blizzard has been making the news for all the wrong reasons, including a toxic culture and even lawsuits that have crippled the game maker. Burnout is a common complaint by many programmers. Kotaku says these issues aren't limited to this company, but this company is the face of the problem for the time being.
3. U.S. Security Associates
Being a security guard is a difficult job. Many of them get inconvenient hours. After all, most places are less secure during the night than during the day, which is a time when most people don't want to work. On top of that, security guards have to confront people when they see something suspicious going on, which isn't even mentioning how they tend not to get much respect from sizable portions of the general population.
U.S. Security Associates doesn't make it any easier, as guards with this organization continually report working long hours, getting poor training, and struggling to feel safe. The inclusion of this company on this list becomes more understandable when one adds the usual issues of businesses that don't treat employees well. Clearly, the nation's largest security firm has a lot of work to do to improve its work conditions.
2. The Fresh Market
Businesses aren't just either all-good or all-bad any more than humans are just either all-good or all-bad. Unfortunately, that says nothing about its treatment of its employees. While The Fresh Market might not be too bad to the customers (though it has its fair share of complaints), it ranks 2.9 on Indeed. Clearly, The Fresh Market has a decent reputation when it come stop its foodstuffs. Unfortunately, that says nothing about it's treatment of its employees, which include poor pay and questionable management.
Being replaceable is a very bad thing when corking for a mega corporation. There's a good chance you've heard one or more horror stories about working as an Amazon fulfillment worker. For example, there are high injury rates. Similarly, there is the intrusive surveillance of workers. This kind of thing is no coincidence. Amazon knew very well that such practices alienated its workers. It just didn't care in its pursuit of profits. Indeed, it wanted a high turn-over rate because of concerns that long-term workers would become either angry or complacent.
Even worse, Amazon has been linked to huge human resources issues and even human rights violations in Saudi Arabia. The experiences of Amazon fulfillment workers are so well-known that people see such positions in a more negative light than ever before. The situation is so bad that PCMag and other sources reported on an internal memo saying Amazon is expected to see a worker shortage as early as 2024 if nothing changes. Avoid working for them if at all possible.
Written by Dana Hanson
Read more posts by Dana Hanson