HR Startup Bans Sex In Stairwells

Heavy in-office drinking, wrestling matches on the floor of steakhouses, and sex in the stairwells. You’d be forgiven for thinking that we were describing The Wolf of Wall Street, but in fact, all three of those things are part of the public humiliation of human resources startup Zenefits. Buzzfeed’s William Alden, whose investigation uncovered the macro used to circumvent HR certification guidelines, has a lengthy report detailing the party culture and lax atmosphere that could prove fatal to one of Silicon Valley’s hottest properties. “We must admit that the problem goes much deeper than just process,” new CEO David Sacks wrote to employees in a memo obtained by Buzzfeed. “Our culture and tone have been inappropriate for a highly regulated company.” Sacks has banned drinking in the office and, most notably, having sex in the stairwell. Yes, apparently this was a major problem. “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 company’s director of workplace services wrote in a memo obtained by The Wall Street Journal. “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.” These optics seem to indicate an out-of-control company intent on hurling itself off whatever cliff it can find. Zenefits looks a lot like Wile E. Coyote in that it left the cliff a while ago and is only now looking down. It’s unclear yet if Sacks will serve as a functional parachute or if, like the ACME products favored by Mr. Coyote, he's about to make a bad situation much worse. Either way, it's ironic that an HR startup is being forced to publicly regulate a ton of behavior that would normally have you sent to HR.

More from Work & Money

R29 Original Series