The head of human resources at GitHub (“Where the world builds software”), the provider of Internet hosting for software development and version control using Git, was apparently forced to resign over the firing of a Jewish employee who warned staffers in Washington, DC they should beware of Nazis.
According to TechCrunch (Fired GitHub employee who warned co-workers about Nazis is seeking legal counsel), the employee, who wishes to remain anonymous, on January 6 went on Slack, the business communication platform, to warn: “stay safe homies, Nazis are about.” Another GitHub employee was offended, suggesting this kind of rhetoric wasn’t good for work, filed a complaint, and two days later, the employee who cried Nazi was fired, with two paychecks as his severance pay.
The sacking was reportedly explained by the human relations representative who did the deed, with a “pattern of behavior that is not conducive to company policy.”
According to Business Insider (EXCLUSIVE: GitHub is facing employee backlash after the firing of a Jewish employee who suggested ‘Nazis are about’ on the day of the US Capitol siege), the sacked employee went on Slack again, to say, “I did not know that, as a Jew, it would be so polarizing to say this word,” adding, “We grew up saying Nazi […] It was a story we told because we had to — the decimation of whole lines of ancestry were at the hands of people who went by that title.”
In an interview with TechCrunch, the former employee said that when he wrote his initial message he was genuinely concerned about his co-workers in the area, in addition to his Jewish family members.
According to Business Insider, GitHub employees on Jan. 11 collected 200 signatures on an internal letter demanding that the company denounce white supremacy and Nazis and explain the cause for the firing. GitHub CEO Nat Friedman (the name suggests he is a member of the tribe – DI) messaged back that “I, GitHub, and everyone on our leadership team condemn the attack on the US Capitol last week and any and all belief systems that are discriminatory. […] anti-Semitism, neo-Nazis, and white supremacy — along with all other forms of racism — are vile and have no place in the world, and especially no place in our community.”
Friedman promised that GitHub “will take any and all appropriate action following a thorough investigation.”
It appears that the investigation ended badly for the HR chief, who, according to GitHub, took “personal accountability” and stepped down this past Saturday. Apparently, an outside investigation found failures in the manner of the termination. GitHub executive Erica Brescia blogged that “the investigation revealed significant errors of judgment and procedure. Our head of HR has taken personal accountability and resigned from GitHub.”
GitHub said it had offered the fired employee his job back, and clarified that “employees are free to express concerns about Nazis.”
According to TechCrunch, by “pattern of behavior that is not conducive to company policy,” HR was referring to the fired employee’s complaints about the lack of diversity at the leadership level at GitHub.
“When I kept talking about it, I got threatened being fired in October,” he told TechCrunch. “Both my managers had to come completely to my defense and beg them not to fire me when I pointed out how the sales team [leadership] maybe has just two people of color.”
He also said he had no intention of returning to his old job and is considering staying out of hi tech altogether because it is “toxic.”