Elena Scotti

Here's a good rule: if you need legal advice, don't get it from anonymized strangers on the internet.

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Not everyone is rigorous in following that rule, though, so the legal advice subreddit continues to exist, along with its lengthy list of guidelines and caveats. (#1: "Please only use responses as guidelines to better prepare yourself for when you meet with a lawyer.") The latest dubious advice seeker is a man who claims to be the founder of a tech company in San Jose, California who wants to throw an office party with strippers. He wants to know if he'd be "in violation of any laws before I go ahead with this." His main concern isn't sexual harassment but "zoning stuff."

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We are not lawyers, but we can definitely tell him he's in violation of good taste. Other Reddit users agreed; the man, who used the Reddit handle "fjfilin" was not met with kind words. Plenty of commenters quickly pointed out that for a number of reasons, legal or otherwise, this was a very bad idea. A couple raised some good questions: How many people work for the company? Are any of them women?

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In response, the alleged founder implied that he hadn't hired any women into his 16-person company, calling them a "risk for smaller businesses," because he'd have to offer them maternity leave:

He then added that female candidates "are usually less qualified for technology and don't come from strong computer science backgrounds as often as their male counterparts." In short, he sounds like a real winner of a boss.

The anonymous post, which could not be verified and has been locked by Reddit so that no one else can comment, functions as a blatant reminder of the hiring discrimination women face. A 2014 survey by law firm Slater & Gordon found that 40% of managers would hire a young man over a young woman due to fear of paying maternity leave and the idea that "women are not as good at their jobs when they come back from maternity leave."

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This exacerbates an extant problem in the tech industry where women are already underrepresented, and where gender-based discrimination is still rampant. Last year, while Twitter was in the middle of a gender discrimination lawsuit, it hosted a frat-themed party.

Regardless, parental leave is gender neutral in the state of California, so fjfilin won't have much luck with his money-saving plan. Maybe the extra cash can help pay for whichever lawyer represents the company in a lawsuit.

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[h/t Maya Kosoff]

Ethan Chiel is a reporter for Fusion, writing mostly about the internet and technology. You can (and should) email him at ethan.chiel@fusion.net