GitHub has issued a public apology directed at a Jewish employee who was fired after making remarks about Nazis.
Following the US Capitol attack from groups with known associations to Nazis and other white supremacists, the employee posted in an internal Slack channel: “Stay safe homies, Nazis are about.”
A co-worker complained about the comment–-calling it “untasteful conduct” and not how to describe the rioters.
Speaking to TechCrunch under conditions of anonymity, the former employee said that he had been “genuinely concerned about his co-workers in the area, in addition to his Jewish family members”.
Two days after making his comment, the employee was fired.
The employee opted to remain anonymous due to fears of threats but has been seeking legal counsel over the firing to ensure the protection of his family and seek damages.
Employees at GitHub were alarmed by the circumstances regarding their former colleague’s firing and circulated a letter calling on the company to denounce Nazis and white supremacy and explain the decision.
While it launched an internal investigation to find out the exact circumstances leading to the employee’s termination, GitHub CEO Nat Friedman and COO Erica Brescia shared the following statements with press last week:
- It was appalling last week to watch a violent mob, including Nazis and white supremacists, attack the US Capitol. That these hateful ideologies were able to reach the sacred seat of our democratic republic in 2021 is sickening. The views that propelled this attack are morally abhorrent to me personally, and, I know, to our entire leadership team and company.
- GitHub condemns the attack on the US Capitol on January 6th and any and all belief systems that are discriminatory. Antisemitism, neo-Nazis, and white supremacy – along with all other forms of racism – are vile and have no place in our community.
- We do not and will not tolerate discrimination, harassment, or retaliation in any of its forms, period.
- Employees are free to express concerns about Nazis, antisemitism, white supremacy or any other form of discrimination or harassment in internal discussions. We expect all employees to be respectful, professional, and follow GitHub policies on discrimination and harassment.
GitHub concluded that the employee was fired following “significant errors of judgment”. The company’s head of HR has taken personal accountability and resigned over the weekend.
The former employee has allegedly been contacted to offer his reinstatement but it’s uncertain whether he’ll accept.
“This type of stuff has been said before. It happened with the ICE stuff where the company said ‘let’s have discussions,’ but, then – if you mention ICE – you get fired,” the employee said last week.
“I used to believe in this company, but now I don’t.”
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