Charles River Laboratories Reviews

Updated August 24, 2015
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Charles River Laboratories Chairman, President, Director and CEO James C. Foster
James C. Foster
71 Ratings

Pros
  • They also have good benefits like vacation time (in 9 reviews)

  • A good place to learn some of the basics of nonclinical testing (in 3 reviews)

Cons
  • The upper management of Charles River made this place a nightmare as an employee (in 8 reviews)

  • Low pay and zero opportunity for advancement unless you at all times keep your mouth shut (in 3 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

124 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (2)

    Not a good company at all.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Research Associate
    Former Employee - Senior Research Associate
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Not many good reasons to work here while I was here, although it is relatively easy to get a job here if you dont have much experience, thats about it. I honestly cannot think of any other positives to work for this company. Their strategic vision is weak and the way they treat employees is pathetic. Might be a decent place to get your foot into the biopharmaceutical industry, but most try to get out as fast as they can especially if they are not one of the "favorites" of management. That makes a difference, believe it or not. Bad.

    Cons

    The pay is WAY below market value, promotions were not fair at all - nepotism and favoritism was rampant in my opinion, even the few people making decent money hate their jobs, most members of management were not highly educated. I never felt I had any opportunity to advance, my supervisors were very insecure and were more focused on protecting their own positions rather than identifying and promoting talent. Layoffs seemed to be more frequent than other companies and turnover was rediculous. The few good employees seemed to be constantly searching for jobs right at their desks during work, which should tell you all you need to know.

    Advice to Management

    Resign. You obviously dont know how to run a large company.


  2. Helpful (1)

    Good for entry level, that's about it.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Research Assistant in Reno, NV
    Current Employee - Research Assistant in Reno, NV
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Flexible schedule (my specific department) Ice cream in the summer

    Cons

    Underpaid due to no competition in area No clear path for career growth (Fast Track is a joke) Poor management

    Advice to Management

    Invest in your employees they are your most valuable asset. Most employees feel this a stepping stone towards another career and this is reenforced. Education, experience and hard work are not rewarded. Employees feel that the company can pay reduced saleries because there is no competition for science based workers in the area (it is true). One HR represenative even said, "Where else are you going to go" as an address to our concerns. How rude and inappropriate to that. I would only reccomend workng for CRL if you are extremely desperate or fresh out of school and need some experience. PhD you have a chance to succeed but for those BS or MS you will be undervalued regardless of your contributions.


  3. Helpful (2)

    Inexperienced management / hostile work environment.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Reno, NV
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Reno, NV
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Fine if you are a PhD. These individuals are treated with respect.

    Cons

    The monkeys are treated better than the employees. To quote an HR person "the only professionals here are Study Directors". Anyone else is subject to their verbal abuse. Nepotism ( a percentage of individuals are married and actually supervise one another!) Inexperienced management. Hostile environment. People are afraid to make eye contact in the hall. The less people you know, the better. Low pay and zero opportunity for advancement unless you at all times keep your mouth shut. Having an opinion or any level of expertise will put you in the unemployment line.

    Advice to Management

    Quit.


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  5. Helpful (6)

    Underpaid, undervalued, overworked, little chance of promotion, inflexible hours? Check, check, check, check, and check

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Research Assistant in Reno, NV
    Current Employee - Research Assistant in Reno, NV
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    If you're a new graduate and would like to stay in the Northern Nevada area for biotech work, then you're in luck. Charles River Laboratories is the only game in town. On the plus side, you'll learn skills that will help you land your next job elsewhere. The benefits package is decent including discounts at some major retailers and being fully vested in your 401k. If you have a PhD, then there's a career opportunity here for you; otherwise, you're better off coming into CRL with the mindset that working here is only a stepping stone to better job.

    Cons

    Where to begin? From the start, your pay grade will be low compared against the average in Nevada for the job you'll be doing. Once you're fully trained to perform your job, prepare to be overworked. Being overworked as an hourly employee is all well and fine if you get paid overtime, but that's not the case at Charles River. You'll be forced to take "employee appreciation hours," which amounts to comp time, so CRL doesn't have to pay you overtime. Even that doesn't work out properly. You'll find since the company won't be able to function with you taking all the comp time owed to you, you'll end up losing some of your comp time hours and working for free. Be cautious about any raises or promotions promised when starting to work at CRL. Having worked here for two years, there has not been the promised raise at six months nor the promised promotion at the one year mark. Day in and day out all tasks and expectations are performed, but that doesn't seem to carry much weight with CRL. If you are for a promotion, you better hope that everything is in order. As seen with some co-workers, the company will try to prolong the process for as long as they can and find any loopholes to keep you from your promotion. It was not until threats of quitting occurred did management get their act together to push the promotions through. Don't expect even a modicum of respect from your supervisors or any of the higher ups in the company. You're seen as little more than nameless peons. Have other school, family, or other obligations that conflict with work hours? Too bad! You'll constantly be shoehorned into working less than optimal schedules. You'll be forced into working weekends and holidays, not just minor holidays but the big ones like Thanksgiving and Christmas. They don't care if you have prior plans or are going out of town, you'll be working those days or not at all. By flexible hours, they mean you work around the company's schedule and not the other way around. The management is inept at best and disastrous at worst. On a consistent basis, you'll find certain people completely inundated with work while others have nothing to do. As a whole, management plays very apparent favorites. If you don't brown-nose with the right people, good luck getting anywhere or getting treated like a human being. Training only happens if you hound them about it which becomes difficult, because sometimes you're just not aware what you are currently supposed to be trained on. You'll get chewed out for minor mistakes that have little to no impact on a study, but receive no praise when you go above and beyond to get something done or help others. The best and brightest at Charles River can be seen looking for new jobs at their computers while at work at every free moment. With the way things are at CRL, it's no wonder it has such a high turnover rate. CRL is the only real biotech company in the area, and it knows it. Don't come in looking for a career. Come in looking to learn skills to springboard your career elsewhere.

    Advice to Management

    You get as much out of your employees as you put into them. It's more efficient to train and nurture the employees you have, so that you have a happy and skillful workforce than to constantly have new, untrained, belligerent employees. If the company spent as much time and money trying to cut costs and pat each other on the back for their shadow initiatives, it could create and environment that breeds loyal employees and attract some truly bright minds.


  6. Very little opportunity for advancement

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Cage Wash in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Cage Wash in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Interaction with animals and the latest in cleaning equipment concerning research labs. Cool team orientated work atmosphere.

    Cons

    Supervisors have very little concern for ground level employees. You come into contact with varied health risks, but pay is very meager despite this fact.

    Advice to Management

    Get a backbone and listen to the concerns of employees and don't just focus on being concerned with your own job and promotions.


  7. Helpful (1)

    Unresponsive, Inconsiderate, and Unhelpful

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Reno, NV
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Reno, NV
    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    The facility is well kept and the location is good (an industrial area away from the downtown area). The facility is highly secured.

    Cons

    The hiring website has many flaws that make it very difficult to use. There are websites and email addresses that are not functional. Human Resources is unhelpful and inconsiderate to prospective employees. Unresponsive to emails and phone calls.


  8. Helpful (5)

    They treat you poorly, just like they do with their animals.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Animal Care Technician II in Wilmington, MA
    Current Employee - Animal Care Technician II in Wilmington, MA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    The only really pro I would bother to mention is that I am 'required' to work so much overtime that my paycheck is a lot larger than I expect every week. It is great if you don't have friends, family, children, pets, or any other commitment in your life...

    Cons

    Disrespect at every level, unfair work practices, punishing the hardest workers with additional work, forcing resignations of higher paid employees, disregard for animal welfare, constant threats, NO vacation time allowed (you have to come in regardless). Legally questionable labor practices. Worst place I have ever worked in my entire career.

    Advice to Management

    Your employees make the company run, hurting them is hurting the company. Your constant disregard of your own operating procedures and protocol will eventually catch up with you.


  9. Helpful (5)

    Terrible place to work

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Animal Care Technician I in Reno, NV
    Current Employee - Animal Care Technician I in Reno, NV
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    They actually have good pay and if they followed their own SOPs and guidelines good advancement opportunities. They treat the animals well because that is the right thing to do and it is their business. There are tons of breaks, basically whenever you want and plenty of people show up late and leave early. So, you only work like seven hours a day and get paid for eight. There are paid holidays and if you work on Thanksgiving or Christmas, food is provided, usually from Boston Market. They do take care of their employees and give lots of room for error.

    Cons

    Unfair treatment of employees, supervisors are incompetent. I understand their hands are somewhat tied and they cant make a decision without corporate but why are they needed then? Employees are lazy, disrespectful, rude and selfish. While some are busting a hump in the back, others are sleeping at their desk as a supervisor walks by and says nothing. If you are lazy, great place to work. If you work hard, run for the hills!! The drama makes the pay not worth it.

    Advice to Management

    Start from the top. You need new supervisors in ACS, Tech ops and Necropsy. Senior techs in ACS need to be let go as they continually teach new people not to follow SOPs and can't even set up a rodent rack correctly. Bottom line is you need employees that want to be there and care about the animals more than when they get their next break.


  10. Helpful (2)

    Management is nothing more than a few high school graduates who've put in their decades with the company.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Animal Care Technician I in Kingston, NY
    Former Employee - Animal Care Technician I in Kingston, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at Charles River Laboratories full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    If you can stick it out (years), you will eventually end up making a good paycheck and they offer good benefits. The women in the front office are very kind and helpful. It was always a pleasure to see and speak with them. There are also a few good supervisors at this company but they are truly few and far between.

    Cons

    The job is very physical and demanding. Most people at the plant are just horrible to each other and go out of their way to be difficult and hurtful to one another. Most supervisiors look the other way, or, they are the worst offenders of them all when it comes to bad behavior. I've known workers, both men and women, who have been brought to tears because of the Bully in charge. Good work reviews are given to lousy workers because some supervisors are whimps, and in turn that hurts the team (but they don't care). SOP's are ignored and so is the humane treatment of the animals. If you tell anyone about it (which you're supposed to do) it is ignored as well. Charles River Labs is a company that says it will not tolerate harassment of any kind. Yet harassment runs rampant there, starting at the top within management and trickling down to the lowly peons. If management has an issue with you, they will go out of their way to give you a hard time at every bend in the road. The opposite is true if management likes you, well then, you're the golden child. Favoritism runs the show and brown nosing takes a close 2nd.

    Advice to Management

    Put in your resignations and let some real professionals have a chance to run this company the right way. It's time to start at the top and get rid of the dead wood, then work your way down the ladder. That's how you cut your budget Mr. Foster.


  11. Helpful (3)

    Charles River Laboratories is Unfair and Unethical

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Kingston, NY
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Kingston, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Charles River Laboratories full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    If you can deal with the poor and unfair treatment and bite your tongue, it's a good job with good benefits in a very depressed area of Ulster County, NY.

    Cons

    On Thursday, October 18, 2012, Charles River had a major layoff. Only to have several of those employees return to work again the following Monday (?). Raises were given all over the plant after the lay-offs and some supervisors were demoted, only to be able to work loads of overtime and get paid even more money than usual working for hours instead of salary. Here we all thought that money was tight and Jim Foster was cutting his budget due to the economy. On top of that, those of us that were let go were told we couldn't bad mouth the company or anyone at the plant by name or our pitilly little severence pay would have to be returned. Sounds a little like blackmail. I believe there are lawyers out there that only practice constiutional law, and they do it for a reason, if you get my drift!!? It wouldn't have been so bad if the lay off was performanced based instead of senority based (which is just completely wrong, unfair and makes no sense). Good workers, hard workers, dependable workers were let go while lousy slacker call outs got to keep their jobs. I only hope this company continues to operate in this fashion and eventually goes belly up or PETA or some form of ANIMAL WELFARE shut it down. Animals are suffering as a result of the type of workers that have remained employed. I've seen it!

    Advice to Management

    Management needs a refresher course in what it's like to work in those rooms following their own SOP's. They could also stand to take a class a business ethics and constiutional freedoms and cruelity to animals.



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