As thousands of WeWork employees prepare to be laid off this week, the embattled company’s leadership has issued a warning to them: don’t leak information, and don’t delete anything.
In an email sent Wednesday evening from co-CEOs Artie Minson and Sebastian Gunningham, employees were reminded that the company would take violations of its policy “seriously.”
“It has come to our attention that some employees may be considering deleting materials from their WeWork computers, or forwarding information and documents outside of WeWork,” the email read, a copy of which was seen by The Real Deal.
“You should all be aware that company computers are WeWork property and you may not delete or destroy company materials on these devices. Additionally we want to remind you that you may not share information or documents outside of the company.”
When asked, a WeWork representative would not say if a particular incident prompted the email, and declined to comment further.
The email follows a steady string of news reports about the company’s demise, many of which cited anonymous sources. Since abandoning plans to go public at a valuation of $47 billion over the summer and then ousting disgraced CEO Adam Neumann (who received a $1.7 billion golden parachute), the company has been in freefall.
Sources told TRD that as many as 4,000 employees are expected to be laid off in coming weeks, though WeWork said Thursday that 2,400 would be affected globally. It’s unclear if WeWork’s figure includes 1,000 maintenance workers who would be transferred to JLL, or employees at other companies WeWork acquired.
Fear that employees could delete or remove documents is the latest concern for WeWork executives as regulators begin to pick apart the downfall, and probe allegations of self-dealing. Following a whistleblower complaint, the firm is being investigated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission about allegations WeWork executives approved the $42 million acquisition of another office-space startup, Spacious, without going through due diligence — a highly unusual move. The New York Post first reported the investigation.
A separate investigation was launched by the New York State Attorney General’s office to probe multiple transactions involving former CEO Adam Neumann that were scrutinized for potential self-dealing.
The company’s largest investor, SoftBank, last month committed to a $9.5 billion financing package to save WeWork from potential bankruptcy, a payment that included Neumann’s $1.7 billion exit package.