For as long as women have been in the labor force, this kind of behind-the-scenes support system has served as a vital source of shared information and a safe space for communal commiseration. Advice on salary negotiations, office politics and the work-life balance would be disseminated through informal conversations at cubicles, in cafeterias and over drinks at happy hour. But the network also allowed employees to clue each other into a spectrum of behavior that was often unseen or ignored by their employers — the boss who scoffs at maternity leave, the manager known for ribald jokes, the colleague rumored to be a groper, or worse.