Southern Poverty Law Center Reviews | Glassdoor

Southern Poverty Law Center Reviews

Updated April 14, 2017
29 reviews

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2.9
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J. Richard Cohen
19 Ratings

29 Employee Reviews

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  1. "Great!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    Current Employee - Administrative Assistant in Montgomery, AL
    Current Employee - Administrative Assistant in Montgomery, AL

    I have been working at Southern Poverty Law Center full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Laid back environment and passionate driven individuals who loves what they do.

    Cons

    Not a lot of room for growth.


  2. "Administrative Assistant"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Administrative Assistant in Montgomery, AL
    Former Employee - Administrative Assistant in Montgomery, AL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Southern Poverty Law Center full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    The mission of the company and the work that they do is admirable.

    Cons

    The work environment is toxic.


  3. Helpful (6)

    "Everything that Glitters Ain't Gold"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Community Advocate in Miami, FL
    Former Employee - Community Advocate in Miami, FL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Southern Poverty Law Center full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Medical, dental, and retirement benefits
    Company credit card
    Company cell phone

    Cons

    Lack of sustainability on issues
    SPLC far too easily decides to intercede on behalf of fragile communities and just as easily decides to “go in another direction”. This leaves communities unsupported and distrustful of any outside support. The decision to not only leave these communities but to also rid of the staff members who maintained a consistent presence in these communities hurts SPLC's reputation and possible future work.

    Lack of Diversity
    All SPLC practice areas; Children’s Rights, Economic Justice, Immigrant Justice, LGBT Rights, and Mass Incarceration, have a disproportionate effect on black and brown people. Yet, such a small percentage of black and brown people are employed on the Legal team at SPLC (two Black lawyers and three Black Advocates within a staff of about 100 across five states). Further disheartening is the fact that even fewer minorities are in positions of authority where they would be able to make decisions about how best to assist their own communities. It is important to have employees that reflect the communities in which you work. More effort must be put into developing a diverse staff and it should be the priority to have said staff in positions of leadership.

    High Turnover Rates
    Toxic work environments lead to low retention rates. This is the case across offices. High turnover rates are a direct reflection of poor management and lack of opportunity/upward mobility. There is a large divide between Senior Leadership and other staff. Staff members often complain to one another about these concerns and are fearful of telling leadership due to fear of retaliation. High turnover rates not only hurt this organization but also the communities they work in by causing delays in work.

    Mismanagement of employees
    One huge concern is the mismanagement and mistreatment of employees by senior management which is in my opinion the cause of those high turnover rates. The work done by SPLC is noble and not the cause of unhappiness. Employees are unhappy with her and her ease of ridding of staff who stand up for themselves.

    Advice to Management

    This advice is more to the Board. Time to clean out house. Senior leadership has caused and allowed the toxic environment that permeates the entire organization to go on for long enough. Whether you know it or not, it's no secret. Other organizations are fully aware of this reputation. It will hurt you in the long run as you continue to cycle through employees who will go on to be the very people you will need. STOP being hypocrites and profiting off poor black and brown communities while hiring little to NO black and brown staff. Finally, always remember that you are never too big to fail. It'll keep you humble.


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  5. "Canvasser"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Canvasser in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Canvasser in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Helping raising money for bullied kids.

    Cons

    Long hours standing as you are canvassing.


  6. Helpful (8)

    "Not a good environment"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Montgomery, AL
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Montgomery, AL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at Southern Poverty Law Center full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Type of work and free medical insurance

    Cons

    Internally the environment is toxic. No room for advancement. Living in Montgomery. High Turnover. Lack of diversity within Upper Management.

    Advice to Management

    Make changes within Sr. Management so the staff and work can grow.


  7. Helpful (2)

    "Worth it"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Manager in Montgomery, AL
    Current Employee - Manager in Montgomery, AL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Southern Poverty Law Center full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Senior leadership, human resources and operations are constantly doing things to maintain a positive work environment.

    Cons

    Lots of disconnect across departments and standard operating procedures. Living in Montgomery, AL.

    Advice to Management

    Keep adjusting to the growth spurt.


  8. Helpful (6)

    "Technology position"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Technology Manager/Director in Montgomery, AL
    Former Employee - Technology Manager/Director in Montgomery, AL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Southern Poverty Law Center full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Some of my best work was produced during my tenure with the organization. The freedom to excel each day while learning and working with topnotch/talented contractors was really amazing. I trusted my coworkers and enjoyed the socially without any pressure of work. I hope/know it'll be great again. Soon I hope.

    Cons

    My professional growth and processes to tackle new projects, or maintain them later rarely pulled on internal IT resources, and I found it hard to collaborate with internal staff often, mostly because another teams of contractors supported our solutions offsite and that gave us a great SLA. Lack of understanding of my responsibilities caused coworkers to question their roles that had no direction from leadership. Most, if not all IT staff with those ideas, imploded and one came back, but is embarrassed to share where he works now.

    Advice to Management

    The best advice would be to the board. A new CEO. A front man/women is needed and should have their support of the staff to lead them. I'd bet you'd find 85 percent of the staff with the organization do not trust the correct CEO. My guess it's a matter of time before he will need to be asked to leave. Great work ahead and important missions head that need a leader that staff want to work with. Trickle down to good retention and word of month.


  9. Helpful (8)

    "Research"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Researcher in Montgomery, AL
    Former Employee - Researcher in Montgomery, AL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Free Coffee, Good Insurance benefits.

    Cons

    Upper management is the worst I have ever seen in over 40 years of working. Managers fight among each other, stab each other in the back to get ahead, and talk about each other like dogs. They are threatened by people with as much education and work experience as they. The are currently conducting a pogram of firing or demoting employees over the age of 40. The only people promoted are the drinking buddies of the managers, even if they do not have the experience or education that workers over 40 have. One department fired four women over the age of 40 in one day. They were "reorganizing." I was told my job was eliminated. Four days later I saw it posted on the website. This organization has the most toxic atmosphere of any I have ever encountered.

    Advice to Management

    It's time for Richard Cohen to step down. Over a quarter century of his leadership has resulted in the organization losing its moral compass. A good MBA would be a better leader than a lawyer. Richard contributes greatly to the toxicity of the organization. The organization cares more about raising money than anything else. The amount of money they rake in , is totally out of proportion to the work that they do. Their endowment fund is for when donations dry up. If donations dry up, obviously the work is no longer relevant.


  10. Helpful (5)

    "Researcher"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Researcher in Montgomery, AL
    Former Employee - Researcher in Montgomery, AL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Southern Poverty Law Center full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Good benefits and time off.

    Cons

    Poor managers. Have no compunction crawling to top on employee backs. Currently demoting and firing older workers.

    Advice to Management

    Quit lying to employees. Take management classes.


  11. Helpful (3)

    "Disappointing experience"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Montgomery, AL
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Montgomery, AL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Southern Poverty Law Center full-time

    Pros

    Organization with a rich history. Some wonderful staff devoted to the mission.

    Cons

    A not for profit which fights for the rights of others but affords employees no rights. Prospective employees who are thinking of relocating to join SPLC, should consider the expense you will incur when you are discharged. Check the turnover numbers. It is a truly toxic environment. Lies are spread about staff by certain senior managers - lies that have no basis in reality. The lies are repeated and embelished upon. And even though, there are senior members who know the truth, they do not speak up to defend those people who are being hurt and ultimately discharged. Somehow SPLC has lost its moral center.

    Advice to Management

    Get rid of the COO! She has created a culture of fear in those areas for which she has responsibility. Her crusade to get rid of everyone who knows more than she does has resulted in the wholesale discharge or demotion of staff over the age of 40. And those people have been the heart and soul of SPLC. Step up Mr. Cohen and restore the values that made SPLC great.


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