Reason said it’s a story you don’t read every day.
On Wednesday, Joshua Rauh, a human resources director and two of his co-workers from Chicago-based Solidcore, an online workout platform, called on their former CEO to step down. They accused her of fostering a toxic, “hostile” culture that was actually a “a megalomaniac-driven suicide pact” with herself, their former boss.
Here’s the background: the business was founded by 36-year-old Meghan Meierhans in 2014, with the goal of helping users find workouts that fit their schedules. Her company raised over $600,000 in venture capital dollars but shut down last year without explanation.
Now, Reason’s report shows that her alleged bro culture and brutal work culture were more destructive than anyone realized. “We realized our lives weren’t going to be the way we had imagined,” Raush told Reason, explaining why he, his co-workers and their families abandoned her. “We realized we weren’t going to do the things we wanted to do when we wanted to do them.”
“The idea for this started with me trying to figure out how to hold me accountable for my days and my hours,” Meierhans told Reason. “So we had about 10 times the amount of women working for me in the office.”
But according to Raush, Meierhans couldn’t keep the lid on her allegedly obnoxious behavior. “My employees and my friends quit the next day,” he told Reason. “They were quitting all the time. We had the most successful things that anyone’s ever had with the company closing down. But it all came apart because she was an insufferable company owner. It was a pitiful, inhumane feeling to be managing people.”
Reason also found that Meierhans left behind a “smelly, foul-smelling mess” and had threatened employees with “personal attacks.” There were days when she left her office without showing up at all, Raush said. As reason puts it, this behavior “crushed morale at the gym.”
Since the allegations were published, Meierhans has denied all of the allegations. “Why would one of my former employees admit to threatening company employees?” she told Re/code on Thursday. “It’s a joke. She will be humiliated in the press.”
Meierhans has since hired a personal lawyer to defend her against the employees’ allegations. But Raush believes this is a conversation that has been happening for awhile.
“When Meghan started, there was a stigma in the workplace that talking about gender wasn’t cool,” he told Reason. “How things evolve, I guess, is after people see the results. And that’s a good thing. It’s a good thing for women in business, it’s a good thing for everybody, and I think it’s good for women in our society as well.”