Regardless of what you think about co-working spaces, WeWork has quickly scaled to becoming one of the premier providers of office space for startups, small businesses, and even independent professionals.
But despite the polished, connected, and Millennial geared lounges and work spaces, the young, hip setting is, allegedly, rife with "frat-boy culture." If you're wondering what that means, it's generally understood as a male-dominated social setting where heavy drinking is encouraged and peoples' boundaries are not respected, which is, as any lawyer would know, a recipe for employment lawsuit disaster.
WeWork Sexual Assault Wrongful Termination Lawsuit
Headlines about the recent lawsuit against WeWork have been getting quite a bit of attention. As the reports explain, the lawsuit alleges that Ruby Anaya reported two separate instances of sexual misconduct against other employees, and that both times, her complaints failed to prompt any action from the company.
In the first incident, Anaya alleges she was grabbed from behind, in a sexual manner, and pulled back into her assailant's body, and he tried to kiss her, but she pushed away. The second incident involved Anaya tripping, and grabbing onto another coworker's shoulder to stop herself from falling over. But then, immediately after that, that same coworker grabbed her and kissed her.
In both instances, the alleged perpetrators claim blackout drunkenness prevented them from remembering anything. Curiously, in only one of the two instances was the alleged perpetrator forced to complete any training.
The company has apparently struck back rather strongly, issuing public statements claiming that Anaya was terminated due to poor performance, rather than in retaliation for complaining about the above incidents and the company's alleged failure to properly address these incidents.
Blacking Out on Company Time
Perhaps the most shocking part of the lawsuit, apart from the fact that an employee is alleging that two coworkers, at different times, sexually assaulted her, and the alleged fact that WeWork basically did nothing about it except interview the alleged perpetrators, is that employees are getting blackout drunk at company events. But that might just be par for the course at a company that boasts in office beer taps at every location.