The site was efficient, well stocked, and probably too successful for its own good.Launched in 1999 by a Mountain View, California, tech entrepreneur named Eric “Red” Omuro, Red Book began as a modest hub for mongers (Internet slang for johns) to discuss the local scene and post reviews of escorts.
The legal issue is what I like to call the "amplification" of potential liability that always exists around the employer-employee relationship.There will foreseeably be claims of favoritism, or even discrimination or harassment.It resembled a web page you might use to find a new job or a secondhand bike.If you were careful to stay away from the sections where photos automatically displayed, you could easily browse potential sex partners at work and your coworkers would never suspect a thing. The site's naughty classifieds section contained the sort of ads that used to be the sole domain of alt weeklies' back pages: “*College Girl Gone Wild* (BUSTY SMART BLONDE),” “Sexy & Sweet Asian Here to Please Your Needs,” and “Morning $pecials Daddy Let Me Blow Your Mind.” While ads were free to post, advertisers could opt to pay for premium placement. While the site's most popular forums had names like “Escort 411,” “Street Action,” and “Domination Station,” Red Book also hosted conversations on topics ranging from baseball to bondage, music to massage parlors.According to a Career Builder survey, interoffice dating has a fairly high success rate--of the 38% of people surveyed that dated a co-worker at least once, 31% went on to marry that co-worker! If you believe the stats of new employees entering the workforce, it might seem so.
But a lot of companies don't let the rank and file decide--they adopt policies that ban or limit workplace dating--all in the name of lowering liability.
As it grew, the site expanded beyond the Bay Area, adding sections for Southern California, the Central Coast, Phoenix, Nevada, and the Pacific Northwest.
Omuro also added a key functionality—he made it possible for sex workers to advertise their services.
Enforcing these policies can take their toll on a company. Earlier this year, Best Buy's chief executive, Brian Dunn, stepped down after an investigation by the board discovered he had shown "extremely poor judgment" with a 29-year-old female employee.
Just last month, Gary Friedman, the chief executive of Restoration Hardware, stepped down in the middle of the company's public offering. A couple years ago, Hewlett-Packard's chief executive, Mike Hurd, resigned amid accusations of falsifying expense reports to hide a personal relationship with an independent contractor.
Essentially, any relationship between two people that could have a negative effect on the company if things sour, or if one party is able to improperly influence the other would fall under the policy.