WeWork is a $20 billion company that provides shared workplaces for startups and entrepreneurs.
But the office space is going vegetarian by enforcing a no-meat policy on its employees that is leaving a bad taste in their mouths.
Business Insider reported that WeWork sent an email to its 6,000 global staff members stating they will no longer be able to expense meals that include red meat, poultry, or pork.
WeWork just banned meat 🙅♂️ https://t.co/HgWft5Xqkv— Product Hunt (@Product Hunt)1531520774.0
Carnivorous employees will be disappointed to find the policy will also affect company functions where hors d'oeuvres are served.
Co-founder Miguel McKelvey confirmed that all meat options will be conspicuously left off the menu at the company's upcoming internal "Summer Camp" retreat.
@ProductHunt WTF? How is it even related to their business? https://t.co/5LGjyyrXbU— JT (@JT)1531584985.0
@CBCAlerts Vegans & vegetarians get meals paid, nice way to police employee eating habits.— Cheryl (@Cheryl)1531752389.0
The new mandate born out of environmental concerns would also affect the "Honesty Market" food and beverage kiosks located in some of their 400 co-working spaces.
@CBCAlerts Fine if they don’t serve meat at company events, but not allowing it expensed is paternalistic and unfair.— Renee Shew (@Renee Shew)1531753027.0
McKelvey explained the reason for the new policy in the internal memo.
New research indicates that avoiding meat is one of the biggest things an individual can do to reduce their personal environmental impact, even more than switching to a hybrid car.
Skeptical observers commented on the unpopular diet restriction.
@CBCAlerts It will not save lives. These animals will just not be produced. If they're dreaming of excess meat anim… https://t.co/Xw2qEHn4po— Drunkle Ray (@Drunkle Ray)1531750538.0
@ProductHunt I’m sure they’ll have a blast paying for the increased medical insurance when their employees have ami… https://t.co/n18gLyjtF8— Connor Brereton (@Connor Brereton)1531527731.0
Even some vegetarians are not on board.
@karaswisher @felixsalmon @WeWork I’m vegetarian, this is not how you encourage people to eat less meat.— Hubert Thieblot (@Hubert Thieblot)1531670567.0
If anything, the policy encouraged defiance.
@hthieblot @karaswisher @felixsalmon @WeWork I will be regularly consuming meat inside WeWork spaces. Likely more than before.— Mark Rogowsky (@Mark Rogowsky)1531675478.0
It caused others to hope for the company's demise.
@ProductHunt This is so stupid, everyone should eat what they desire to eat. This is discrimination, hope they go o… https://t.co/ijnzBASumJ— Petru Gaspar (@Petru Gaspar)1531548770.0
Could this lead to other strict rules controlling the lives of employees?
@CBCAlerts Policing what people eat is going too far. What next? When they bathe, what fabric they wear in clothing… https://t.co/FUn5mBEHbG— Kate Tagseth 🇨🇦 (@Kate Tagseth 🇨🇦)1531749317.0
@CBCAlerts Tell me what they make that I can stop buying. Dictating employee’s diet seems like a lot of overreach.… https://t.co/CzmPFbPe7a— Mike Shea (@Mike Shea)1531850932.0
McKelvey told the New York Times that he is not strictly a vegetarian, but more of a "reducetarian."
I try to consume less and be aware of the decisions I'm making.
Not just food, but single-use plastics, and fossil fuels and energy.
He believes that enforcing his own personal values is an important component to being a successful corporate leader in today's business world.
Companies have greater responsibility to their team members and to the world these days.
We're the ones with the power.
Large employers are the ones that can move the needle on issues.
People criticized McKelvey for having an uninformed, overly simplistic, fundamentally flawed viewpoint.
@Slate His understanding of the environmental aspect is both wrong and overly-simplistic, and that they have taken… https://t.co/eZQLfM2ODg— eleanorina (@eleanorina)1531567893.0
@Slate These are problems with enforcement. But that’s not the real problem here. The idea is flawed in concept.— doogle doo (@doogle doo)1531550343.0
@Slate By the way, lamb is recommended for people on hypoallergenic diets. It's one of the least allergy-triggering… https://t.co/B2qCFIuls0— Patricia Schwarz (@Patricia Schwarz)1532280035.0
@Slate They're heading for a lawsuit here. Not everyone can handle a plant protein diet. Sooner or later someone is… https://t.co/bTQiZJNlhd— Patricia Schwarz (@Patricia Schwarz)1532279812.0
@Slate They’d help the environment more by not building anymore offices for people to commute to.— Eddie (@Eddie)1532253295.0
@Slate Well considered comments. While eating less meat is good (for health and environment), supporting eating ove… https://t.co/PWpYatw1zw— Ginger Edwards (@Ginger Edwards)1531678397.0
@Ludditemylife @adamajacoby @coopersam339 @nytimes And the flaw is that eggs are on the menu, but not lamb which it… https://t.co/DBFdhLS2rn— Robert Cherry (@Robert Cherry)1532268645.0
Despite any good intentions, the strict policy is a hard one for people to swallow.