What If Your Company Banned Expensing Meals With Meat?

See: WeWork tells employees meat is permanently off the company menu, summary:

The startup has told its 6,000 global workers that they will no longer be able to expense meals including meat, and that it won’t pay for any red meat, poultry or pork at WeWork events. In an email to employees this week outlining the new policy, co-founder Miguel McKelvey said the firm’s upcoming internal Summer Camp retreat would offer no meat options for attendees.

“New research indicates that avoiding meat is one of the biggest things an individual can do to reduce their personal environmental impact,” said McKelvey in the memo, “even more than switching to a hybrid car.”

Here's a poll / vote:

Curious to hear what you think.

I doubt that they will be able to enforce that policy. As a quick example, I worked with someone in outside sales (heavy travel) who was on a prescribed diet that involved eating a lot of steak, along with other specific non-meat items. 

New research...

Not sure how "new" this research is, but it does not seem like a good idea to enact major sweeping policies in reaction it "new research" that may not have been fully examined.

Seems like a far-fetched, unenforceable policy, to get a bunch of free publicity for a startup that is burning through cash like its bacon in an 800 degree oven

Seems like a far-fetched

For tech company / 'Silicon Valley' standards, I don't think this is 'far-fetched' as their workplaces have become increasingly politicized.

"Waiter I would like the meat fiesta pizza however, please ring this up as the veggie delite pizza with a side salad."

I'm going home right now and tossing a fat Rib-eye on the grill!


Got some BBQ rub for some Meat.


Semi-unrelated, but what is the definition of 'Startup'? In my mind it was always a relatively new company, like less than five years, with a small number of employees. WeWork has been around for 8 years, with 6000 employees according to John's original post. Why are they still considered a startup?

Daniel, good point.

It seems San Francisco / Silicon Valley types are very liberal with the use of the term 'startup'. It was not even too long ago that Google was called a startup...

To your point, I generally define startups similarily. Of course, it's inherently subjective but calling WeWork a startup is pushing it.

I have never heard of WeWork, are they based in North Korea?  

I think WeWork has just banned itself from ever expanding in several states. 

Finding meatless food in many southern/ central US restaurants is pretty tough.  

Moreover, finding vegans/vegetarians willing to abide by that policy seems like a pretty restrictive criteria when hiring. 

IPVM, rent out some workspace at one of their locations and fire up the BBQ!

I'd find another company to work for. Freaks are too difficult to collaborate with! Next, they'll probably mandate employees to move inland because the coasts are going to be under water shortly from climate change. 

Time to change their name to NobodyWorkHere.

You could get fired for chewing your fingernails!


I wonder if they would change or make exceptions to this policy if people were eating synthetic meat. That is suppose to be ecologically friendly whatever that means.

That better be gluten free dough you are bringing home..

personally i think it is just a publicity stunt.
But for argument's sake, each company can set its own rules, its up to you if you want to work there or not. 
I worked for a company where you could not expense alcohol (food was ok, but you could not submit receipts for alcohol). 
Companies can ban smoking on their premises and people don't complain. 
what if they banned sugary drinks? would it make an uproar? 

so, in my eyes this is a non-issue and not really news worthy

"personally i think it is just a publicity stunt."

To create and enforce an intrusive corporate policy like this - based on some alleged 'study' that conforms to the owners personal social justice beliefs absolutely reeks with the stench of virtue-signalling.

There is no way to fight this position.

Find another job.

Isreal, I can believe from an outside US perspective that this would seem like a publicly stunt but it's a real issue in the US. Not simply 'eating meat' but the broader politicization of the US workplace, especially in the tech sector.

Related: How Do You Talk About Politics In Your Office?

Seeya wouldn't wanna be ya!! I dare you to pry my juicy porterhouse from my dead cold fingers. Not sure about dead but at least a food coma perhaps. :)


instead, Why not ban plastic, make it 100% eco friendly, invest in on-site recycle

New NY Times article, WeWork doubling down on their policy: "Memo From the Boss: You’re a Vegetarian Now"

Anyone who says, "we're the ones with the power" makes me sick. Power and self-perceived power are the fundamental reasons the world has so many horrific mistreatments of humanity. Power and the abuse of power are evil. Take your self-righteous arrogance and shove it.

Each individual in society needs to reduce and minimize waste on their own as a way of life rather than be told by some arrogant prick what one can or cannot eat.

When i heard that annual plastic straw trash could fill Yankee stadium to the brim, I choose not to use plastic straws...ever, as just one small example. A conscious decision of an individual to try to reduce waste. Noone with "power" had anything to do with that choice (and many others).

Anyone who says, "we're the ones with the power" makes me sick.

Good note. I missed that, the full paragraph: 

As Mr. McKelvey [WeWork Co-Founder] sees it, imposing his values on his employees is a natural part of being a corporate leader today. “Companies have greater responsibility to their team members and to the world these days,” he said. “We’re the ones with the power. Large employers are the ones that can move the needle on issues.”

Fascinatingly, he is framing it as a responsibility to his own 'team members'. It will be interesting to see how his 'team members' respond to that.

WeWork’s monthly sales contest:

Any company can decide what should be served in their office canteen. If employees are looking for something else, they can opt to go out and eat. what is wrong with it. I have seen many companies where they serve only meat or do not serve halal. Employee should not make big issue out of this.

"Any company can decide what should be served in their office canteen."

True - except that has absolutely nothing to do with the OP.

While I am sure that this companies 'office canteen' isn't serving meat, this decree deals with something else - employees eating meals outside of the company canteen.

Expensing meals is what you do when you are on the road doing business things.

So this CEO is saying his employees will not be reimbursed for their meal expenditures - on the road - if the bill includes meat.

The really sad part of all of this is that I am positive the CEO has altruistic intentions...

...just as I am equally positive that his effort is all virtue signalling stupidity... i.e. the act itself will have zero actual effect on the 'virtue' that he is 'signalling' that he clearly cares a great deal about.

That fact alone renders the effort stupid and a legitimate target of ridicule.


The idea behind these initiatives is to save environment. If employees can show and prove that they are saving plastics, ensuring papers are not wasted, save water etc, I am sure CEO will eventually not think about such steps.

The unfortunate part is that employees do waste papers and plastic at office just because they feel it is free and it is not their duty. I have see employees wasting water at office just because they feel let office pay for it.

I feel we can change direction of this discussion from simply ridiculing the CEO who banned meat to the steps we ALL can take to save environment.

Following are few of the initiatives I have taken:

1. I DO NOT print papers unless it is extremely important. I put limit on use of printer cartridges and check usage of each user. The consumption of papers reduced by almost half.

2. small and tiny water bottles are banned in my office. Employees are encouraged to use metal bottles and use the water dispensing machines to refill.

3. During conferences / meetings, the first slide is to inform everyone NOT to waste tissue papers, water and plastic. Glasses are used instead of plastic water bottles.

If we can save one plastic bottle per day, imagine the contribution to preserving mother earth.


"If we can save one plastic bottle per day, imagine the contribution to preserving mother earth."

This is a fallacy argument - because even though it sounds virtuous by intention (and I am positive it is) - it doesn't mean that doing things like this have any real 'effect on the earth' (the stated goal of the virtue signalling).  Instead, the efforts become virtue advertising.

Do consumers engage in waste?  Of course.  Is waste bad?  Sure it is - especially if the 'over-consumption' of finite resources deplete mother earths ability to recover from this over-consumption.  I think that efforts made to create awareness to avoid waste are good efforts.

Nobody protests Earth Day celebrations.

But that doesn't mean that just because your small company signals that they 'care a lot', that these efforts will have any real effect on anything at all.


because these efforts ignore all of the other, myriad of real world things that contribute to the unhealthiness of mother earth - and focus instead on indoctrination projects like US recycling efforts that began in earnest in the 70s... when both Earth Day and the EPA were formed.



...it doesn't mean that doing things like this have any real 'effect on the earth' (the stated goal of the virtue signalling).

Then they’re doing it wrong :)

Properly executed, a well-crafted signal, even if in truth it is devoid of any personal sacrifice, can spur others on to take tangible action.

In fact, if ones influence grows great enough, ones own hypocritical behavior becomes insignificant compared to the downstream effect, but only to the degree that behavior is hidden.

Consider GW champion and friend of the working man Al Gore whose personal electric usage exceeds the output of the Grand Coulee and Hoover Dams combined*.



your comment, while certainly intended (and succeeding) to be humorous, actually underscores my primary point:

there is nothing wrong with being virtuous - and we should all try to do good deeds... but the virtuous need to guard against the very real danger of those that are simply seeking to make a dollar using them as pawns in that effort.

because these types will (historically) try to incite the 'virtuous' to engage in idolatry to the cause in a manner that they can benefit from - whether by increasing their own influence or making more money - or both.


...it won’t pay for any red meat, poultry or pork...

Does it apply to clients as well?

WeWork Salesguy:  May I recommend the Roasted Broccoli with Walnuts and Tofu with Creamy Miso Dressing?

Client: Sounds good, but I’m thinking maybe I’ll try the 1/2 pound Sirloin Sub Stuffer, bloody.

WeWork Salesguy: Not to scare you but the first incident of Mad Cow Disease was reported not far from here. You could always play it safe with the Bean and Grain Stew with Garlic and Chiles...

Client: Ok, what about the Braized Baby Veal Tornadoes?

WeWork Salesguy: Sure, if you’re into rebranded Chinese veal...

Client: Ok, maybe I should just go with the Roasted Brocoli thing after all...

WeWork Salesguy: Works for me!

Client: ...but instead of the walnuts, maybe just some bacon bits.

WeWork Salesguy:  No substitutions allowed!

That's funny! To the underlying point, I am not sure how many field / external salespeople WeWork has.

Just looking at Glassdoor WeWork salary reports, range is $64k - $93k, which signals that they are inside salespeople, especially given how expensive NY, SF, is.

This discussion has turned into a Facebook experience over the weekend!!

Individuals requiring “medical or religious” allowances are being referred to the company’s policy team to discuss options.

Upon hearing of the policy, a simple but firm declaration of “Holy Cow!” would indicate surprise as well as form the basis for an exemption.

Freaking millennials!!!! Trust me, two of my kids are vegans and one is a vegetarian. They take all the fun out of eating. 

More seriously though, I’ve recently adopted the Keto diet to shave some much needed weight. All I eat is meat and veggies. It’s working great so far.

While either of these approaches may be extreme, I would never impose my views on anyone, especially my valued employees. This is going way too far. 

What they should do, if their goal is to improve the health of their employees would be to cut all sweetened items, such as soda and candy from their campus. Sugars are the real threat to our society. They are hidden in almost everything we eat. 

Unless I missed it from previous:

My concern is a potential issue of discrimination. What happens if you don't share the CEO's feelings on protein consumption, and you are passed over, or worse yet, relieved of your duties? Because of this policy, you could have a compelling reason to stake a claim. What about those who have been passed over or fired in the last 6 months..... Wonder what that would do for WeWorks' financials to be inundated with wrongful termination suits.....

"Get woke, go broke": wave buh-bye.

Any company with priorities this far removed from serving their customers, making a profit, and treating their employees with respect is not long for the world.

To which I would add; any company that's still operating at a loss while burning through hundreds of millions in VC/Notes, but has a "Chief Culture Officer" (& his photo is absolutely precious)... 


Best be short-term notes.

As long as employer is abiding by law, everything is fair. The companies are here to make profit (legally). Charity organization are different.

Employees are happy till employer is fulfilling all their demands, give bonus, perks etc. But the day employer announce that the company is going in loss, all employees will start updating their CV and applying for job. It is rare that the employees will contribute to cover the losses.

If meat is banned or a dress code is applied by employer in his organization's office (his territory) what is wrong? Go out and eat whatever you wish to eat. why make fuss about it?


Go out and eat whatever you wish to eat. why make fuss about it?

90%+ of Americans eat meat daily, so this is a ban that negatively impacts nearly everyone. That's the reason for the fuss. If they banned something specific, like veal, there would be far less of a practical problem.

so if my office has 50% vegans/vegetarians/eggetarian, I can apply no meat policy.

If this happened at our company, people would pack a roast beef sandwich to sneak in with their non-gluten free, non-organic, non-cage free, non-grass fed beers! I would be right there with them.  

This may be a publicity stunt, which is working very well, or a wholehearted attempt to stand by the companies mission. Good on them if they can make it work. They are walking the walk. The truth is, not eating meat is a very effective way to minimize your impact on the earth, but certainly not for everyone. As End User #9 stated earlier, there is a lot you can do beside not eating meat to minimize your impact and be less wasteful. In fact, one of my largest clients a Fortune 500 company, has enacted a path to zero waste policy for their company. They handed me a glass of water instead of a plastic bottle. My wife's Federal Gov't employer is heading that way in their policies as well.  If it is a good place to work, I probably wouldn't quit because of this policy. 

Good luck to their salespeople who have to embarrassingly must explain the policy to existing or prospective clients. Wow that would be awkward. 

This old fogey is off to eat some Hik branded Foie Gras rubbed, Braised Baby Veal Tornadoes.   

"If this happened at our company, people would pack a roast beef sandwich to sneak in with their non-gluten free, non-organic, non-cage free, non-grass fed beers! I would be right there with them."

Expensing Meals With Meat.  It's in the title, man.

Expensing meals has nothing to do with meals eaten at the office.

This decree is aimed at those WeWork employees who are on the road and eating their meals away from home - which is the only reason the company would 'expense' their meals.

This decree is aimed at those WeWork employees who are on the road and eating their meals away from home - which is the only reason the company would 'expense' their meals.

Its a savory slope, though.  

And snowflakes, after basking in the glow from the “success” of their self-righteous expense policy, may soon be offended if aromatic vapors suggestive of an in-progress Mongolian BBQ are slowly wafting thru the building.

Eventually, the company may decide it no longer is PC to purchase the electricity needed to keep meat fresh in the fridge.


We probably roast about 20 lambs a year for our Employees, I'll make sure to increase that to makeup for these guys.

The world population is constantly claimed to exhaust natural resources, water being the most precious and much needed to bread red-meat. What is the problem of not eating meat when you travel? Medical prescriptions and other exceptions taking aside, I believe your lack of will to enter a pro-active contributing status, might be one of the possible answers. I welcome the idea of banning meat when travelling for business, simply because it mandates any person to sharpen his consciousness about environmentally equilibrated behaviour. At a VERY low personal sacrifice. Might need some tuning for travels longer than a working week, but the principle stands the road.

You know what’s even more damaging to the environment than raising meat industrial style? The agriculture system needed to feed these animals in unnatural ways. If we simply took all of the corn and soybean fields and turned them back into grazing pastures instead, the grasses and trees that would replace short lived crops would not only better nourish the animals, it would also end furtilizer run off into water ways, capture far more carbon, and end the need to hydrate the fields. It would also produce an animal product far superior to the warehouse version immensely. So it’s not just the animals that are the root per se, it’s how we go about it. 

No. That's not how any of this works.


 Soy and corn have about 15-20 times more calories than grass 


Corn and soy aren’t the natural diet of grazing cows. They are only force fed corn in order to expedite their unnatural growth to get them to market ASAP. If you let them pasture naturally, the growth cycle will be more natural and longer. This will provide much higher quality products. 

"This will provide much higher quality products."

... at much higher prices due to the economy of scale.

I’ll take quality over quantity any day. This only makes my stance stronger. 

Not all people on the world or even in America can afford the costs that would be associated with all livestock being raised grass fed, no hormones.  You may own your business and easily be able to handle a sharp rise in food cost but most people are not so lucky.

Is there any reason why naturally pastured animals has to cost more than warehouse animals? You no longer have to buy feed, clean up after them, hormones, antibiotics, etc, so maybe the cost would be less? One could argue so. 

For farm raised grass fed animals you don't just cut them out in a field and say have at it.  You have to protect from predators, poachers, and just the animals wandering off.  Put up a fence to keep them from wandering yup that can be done.  Hire people to help protect from predators and poaching sure.  All that costs additional money.  Next you have to buy the land or lease it.  A feed lot cow is generally around 1 year old when slaughtered farm raised, if the fields have enough grass would have to be 2 years old generally.  This means that there will be twice the number of cattle releasing twice the amount of greenhouse gasses and taking up twice as much land as they do currently.  This is just cost ignoring that when ranchers and farmers have livestock they will do whatever they need to protect their investment including killing off indigenous species such as bears, wolves, and mountain lions.  Also note the below information.  Doesn't really leave much room left if you consider how many more animals would have to be set free from their factories to accomplish your desired outcome.  

The 48 states continental U.S. makes up about 1.9 billion acres of land and about 788 million acres, 41.4 percent, is grazed by livestock.

How much land is used today to grow corn and other crops to sustain animals in warehouse style “ranches”?

Allow that farmland to be reclaimed by nature and allow animals to graze it. 

Another factor in all of this is the mass consumption issue with this country (and maybe others?). You don’t need a 20oz steak when you get enough nutrients in an 8oz steak. The reason why we have begun eating such large portions is due to the decreasing quantity of nutrients in our modern foods. Reverse that and quantity won’t be an issue. 

Another large factor is that we (USA) throws away 40% of our food produced. That’s insane. Cut that way down by valuing everything much more. This solves the supply side and releases the additional cost (if any) on the consumer side. Buy less and waste not. 

Your stance discounts why there are factory farms in the first place.

I am personally completely against factory farming - for the reasons you've mentioned and more.  Like how massive amounts of animal waste is consolidated and then invariably released into local ecosystems.

But that doesn't mean I can't understand why they exist as they do - there are lots of people who can't make the same choices that you can.

This is right about the time when some idiot will bring up growing beef directly from stem cells, instead of raising cattle.  

They’ll go on to say how much more humane and environmentally efficient it will be, blah, blah, blah.

To top it off, some purported lab grown beef patty w/bun picture and associated link will be spuriously included in the post, as if this actually makes the argument more credible.


"I welcome the idea of banning meat when travelling for business, simply because it mandates any person to sharpen his consciousness about environmentally equilibrated behaviour."

You welcome bans on things that you personally agree with - so others may learn to be as virtuous as you clearly are already...how nice and unbiased.

What other banned behavior would you welcome then?

Not taking showers on the road to conserve water?

Renting only electric cars?

Staying only in hotels that have a policy to change out bed sheets once a week?

If you want to practice good deeds then please do so.

Just don't start crying when someone zealously mandates a ridiculous ban on something you don't agree with. 

So what’s next? Forcing all the employees to conform and have the same views on politics, religion, etc?

Don't tell me what to eat and I won't tell you where you should go.

i require my employees to eat alot of meat. Beasts are carniverous and I want my employees to go beastmode. 

Can I just point out that fruit, vegetables and salad are seasonal products. Whilst it is possible to eat well with seasonal (locally) produced goods, there is a lot grown overseas and flown 000's of miles to sit on supermarket shelves. Here in the UK you can find products grown in Argentina, Peru, South Africa, etc. even seasonal products are grown in Europe and shipped by road & sea. So until everything is produced and consumed locally, the CO2 created by "roadmiles" in getting products on to the shelves will still contribute to global warming.

You sure it doesn’t mostly come from Spain?

Europe's Dirty Little Secret: Moroccan Slaves and a 'Sea of Plastic'

I'd include my travel expenses to find a restaurant that has vegetarian options that also knew that their romaine lettuce wasn't recalled.  As well as travel time.  THen just have the side order of steak on a separate bill that I could pay personally.  Then an in office contest to see who could expense the largest meal.


Update: the company is having major issues including WeWork’s Adam Neumann Steps Down as CEO.

Obviously not directly connected to banning meat expensing but a wild ride.

Seems like nobody in WeWork Legal thought this through because it's going to open them up to liability. WeWork began as an Israel start-up. Adam Neumann, their CEO who just stepped down, is an Observant (Orthodox) Jew as are many of his employees (it was a source of pride to him that he went out of his way to provide an income to many in the Orthodox communities here). There happens to be a requirement to have meat (and fish) and wine (if being strict) on the Sabbath (Friday sundown to Saturday night). So this new company rule basically means that any Orthodox Jewish employees (and there are many) who travel on behalf of the company and are stuck doing so over the weekend will now be impeded from practicing their faith (or at least will be singled out, more or less, by not getting reimbursed).

Bans are less effective than positive incentives. I think they used a heavy-handed approach here by the method of banning reimbursements rather than simply providing positive benefits to those who do not charge such expenses (and excluding those who have religious issues explicitly). Why go there? Ugh...

There happens to be a requirement to have ...wine on ...Friday sundown to Saturday night...

tell me more :)

Sounds like WeWorks never really cared about their employees. Protein deficiencies are a serious issue. Watch how sick, weak, and mentally unstable people can become if you deprive them of protein. It also seems like it would lead to an inevitable discrimination lawsuit. Not that it matters, as they'll clearly go bankrupt soon enough.

The fact of the matter is that none of these people have a clue what they are talking about. They aren't qualified. And as someone that works alongside a ton of scientists (chemists, biologists, etc) I can tell you that they are all still just humans who also don't know as much as they might pretend and constantly disagree. You would think after how many times "research" has been proven wrong a decade later people would stop taking everything said as undeniable truth without doing your own research and critical thinking.

Who really cares. As someone already stated they are burning through cash. I think their CEOP just quit or was fired. They canceled their planned IPO.

oh and try that in Texas. Banning meat. Yeah right. Even in Extremely liberal Austin they love a good BBQ.

I don't think it would fly for me, especially if I was in a roll where I would need to expense meals on a regular basis. A job should not be permitted to force a lifestyle choice like that. However they are not saying that you cant eat meat they are saying they wont pay for it. get that non meat burger king burger every time I guess. Or reconsider the company you are working for.

Lol, it gets better, per the WSJ:

Just months before the spectacular fall of WeWork, one of the country’s most gilded startups, chief executive Adam Neumann summoned the heads of the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq to one of his homes in the Hamptons.

WeWork was going public and each executive wanted Mr. Neumann to list on their exchange. In return, he wanted their support for a cause he had championed—environmental sustainability—and asked them to ban meat or single-use plastic products in their cafeterias, according to people familiar with the matter. [emphasis added]

Funny take from Matt Levine at Bloomberg:

It is one thing to build a successful company that creates a lot of value and take some of that value for yourself; Neumann created a company that destroyed value at a blistering pace and nonetheless extracted a billion dollars for himself. He lit $10 billion of SoftBank’s money on fire and then went back to them and demanded a 10% commission. What an absolute legend.

In the office next to me is a vegan.

Big Boobs, young, all that.

She wants to get touched.

HOEver, I only eat meat. Is the ME2 movement circulating in your office?

Guys/Gals? Is everything equal in your security office world?