After facing mass condemnation for firing a Jewish employee on the basis of a comment on Slack, GitHub, on Sunday admitted that they made a mistake in firing the worker and offered him his job back.
Fired from the tech company for posting about his concerns regarding the Anti-Semitic displays at the Capitol siege on January 6th, a Jewish employee was terminated by the HR department at GitHub for calling protesters ‘Nazis’.
Facing severe pressure from other employees as well as internet users for not understanding the trauma from a Jewish perspective, the company hired an independent law firm to investigate the termination, and found that “significant mistakes were made.” The company’s head of HR, Carrie Olesen, is also resigning as a result of gross misconduct and discrimination.
“Yesterday evening, the investigation reached the conclusion that significant mistakes were made that are not consistent with our internal practices or the judgment we expect from our leaders,” wrote GitHub CEO Nat Friedman in an internal message to employees on January 16th. He said the company would be issuing a public apology on its blog this weekend. In the post, GitHub COO Erica Brescia said: “To the employee, we wish to say publicly: we sincerely apologize.”
In his note to employees this weekend, Friedman stressed that employees (which the company calls “hubbers”) are allowed to talk about their fears regarding white supremacists. “Hubbers are free to express concerns about neo-Nazis, antisemitism, white supremacy or any other form of discrimination or harassment,” he wrote. “And of course, we expect Hubbers to be respectful, professional, and to follow GitHub policies on discrimination and harassment at all times.”
In support of the fired employee, roughly 200 of GitHub’s 1,700 employees signed an open letter asking for clarity as to why the employee was let go. Showing solidarity, employees also repeatedly started posting the word Nazi online. “Others have already said so, but I just want to say it explicitly myself – I think that nazis were present at some protests on Jan 6, and that it’s very scary to see those ideas on display,” wrote one engineer in Slack. “100% Nazis were there, and 1000000000% Nazis are scary as f*** and do not belong anywhere. PARTICULARLY AT GitHub!” responded another.