US offices provider WeWorks stops offering unlimited beer to members after sexual assault claims

Pilot scheme in New York means workers will now be limited to four beers a day

Maya Oppenheim
Women's Correspondent
Thursday 08 November 2018 16:09
Comments
The taps will only work during the hours of 12pm to 8pm
The taps will only work during the hours of 12pm to 8pm

A US tech company has withdrawn unlimited beer for its members after sexual assault claims.

WeWork, which provides shared workshops for tech start-ups, previously offered unlimited beer on tap to member companies.

But a pilot scheme in New York now means workers will be limited to four beers a day. They will swipe their building key cards to gain access to taps but it will cut them off when the daily limit has been reached.

On top of this, the taps will only work during the hours of 12pm to 8pm. The trial is expected to last between 30 and 90 days.

“WeWork has been working on piloting an innovative, software-driven mechanism to help manage the provision of alcohol in our spaces for some time,” WeWork told CNN Business.

“In addition to the supervision already provided by our Community Management team, mechanized tap controls will enhance this amenity we provide to our members”.

WeWork, which was founded in 2010 and operates in more than 20 countries, is the largest occupier of office space in London bar the government. Members are able to rent a desk, a room or space for a whole business.

The new rule applies to the employees of companies that operate out of its New York City facilities but not its corporate employees.

Earlier this month, a lawsuit from a former employee challenged the company’s corporate culture and drew attention to the amount of alcohol being consumed - noting its "free beer on tap all day in all offices policy."

According to the complaint, the ex-employee, who claims she was sexually assaulted at two company events and ultimately fired in retaliation for reporting the incidents, alleged "in both instances, the male employee professed to be too drunk to remember the incident”.

The complaint also alleged WeWork's headquarters hosts a happy hour each Friday. “Employees are all but mandated to attend. It starts at 4pm," the complaint read.

WeWork denied the allegations in a statement at the time, saying: "These claims against WeWork are meritless and we will fight this lawsuit. WeWork has always been committed to fostering an inclusive, supportive, and safe workplace."

As of July last year, the firm had a valuation of roughly $20bn and managed 10,000,000 square feet of office space.

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WeWork has insisted the policy change for its beer was not made in response to the lawsuit and that it had been “working on piloting an innovative, software-driven mechanism to help manage the provision of alcohol in our spaces for some time”.

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