San Francisco-based HR-platform startup Zenefits has lately been in the news for all the wrong reasons. Fresh off the resignation earlier this month of the company's CEO and founder Parker Conrad, and the announcement that staffers and execs could soon face criminal charges for selling health insurance without a brokers' license, we now learn that the atmosphere at the company is so out of control that executives have been forced to tell employees to stop drinking and having sex while at work.
Let that one sink in for a moment — employees at a human resources company have been drinking and fucking each other, at work.
The Wall Street Journal reports that last week Zenefits' new CEO, David Sacks, officially banned alcohol in the office — “it is too difficult to define and parse what is ‘appropriate’ versus ‘inappropriate’ drinking in the office,” the Journal reports Sacks as telling employees.
While drinking at SF startups may not be that unusual, it is a company-wide letter from last June recently obtained by the Journal that is really turning heads.
"It has been brought to our attention by building management and Security that the stairwells are being used inappropriately... Cigarettes, plastic cups filled with beer, and several used condoms were found in the stairwell," the letter reads in part. "Yes, you read that right. Do not use the stairwells to smoke, drink, eat, or have sex. Please respect building and company policy and use common sense...”
The latest Zenefits revelation is perhaps merely another data point in the saga of inappropriate and out-of-control startup culture, and, with reports that as many as 60 percent of women working in tech are sexually harassed, it will likely not be the last.
Zenefits was named as 2014's hottest startup by Forbes.