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Friday, February 26, 2016

Friends Without Zenefits: Layoffs Hit Firm Known For Sexytime

Posted By on Fri, Feb 26, 2016 at 9:55 AM

click to enlarge zenefits_1414602.png

HR platform Zenefits — which, according to the description of office culture that made waves this week, is a frat house masquerading as an office in San Francisco — announced Friday that it’s laying off 17 percent of its workforce, some 250 people.

This comes just days after revelations that the company that helps other companies “run a business without having to worry about all the administrative work” sent a memo to employees instructing them to stop getting drunk and having sex with each other while in the office stairwell.

All this from a company that Silicon Valley considers a “unicorn” — i.e., a startup valued at more than $1 billion, but apparently with the ability to magically disappear like a row of Fireball shots.

Zenefits recently hired a new CEO, David Sacks, and on Friday he told the New York Times that the layoffs were merely a reflection of a company that grew too fast. He offered this well-manicured quote:

“This reduction enables us to refocus our strategy, rebuild in line with our new company values, and grow in a controlled way that will be strategic for our business and beneficial for our customers.”

In other words, blah, blah, blah. What’s really at work at Zenefits seems to be the cowboy mentality that makes tech companies, and tech bros, the target of much scorn and fist-shaking.

As the Times also reported, this another recent blow for the supposedly $4 billion company. Co-founder Parker Conrad flew the coop earlier in February after it was made public that software he created was circumventing insurance brokerage laws. Zenefits also had ignored health insurance regulations in some places where it operates.

But the most embarrassing public shaming came Monday when the Wall Street Journal published a memo the company had circulated internally saying:

“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. Yes, you read that right. Do not use the stairwells to smoke, drink, eat, or have sex.”

Just in case that wasn’t enough to boil your blood, Zenefits also once hired a homeless guy — how innovative, well done tech! — but did not renew his contract
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