Thomas MacaulaySenior reporter
Thomas is a senior reporter at TNW. He covers European tech, with a focus on deeptech, startups, and government policy. Thomas is a senior reporter at TNW. He covers European tech, with a focus on deeptech, startups, and government policy.
GitHub has apologized to a Jewish employee it reportedly fired for warning coworkers about Nazis at the US Capitol insurrection — and offered him his job back.
The staff member lost his job after posting a message on the company’s Slack channel saying, “stay safe homies, Nazis are about.”
One of his coworkers criticized him for using the word “Nazi,” triggering a heated internal debate, Business Insider reported on Tuesday.
The employee was promptly reprimanded for his comment by GitHub’s HR department. Two days later, he was terminated for unspecified “patterns of behavior.”
[Read: How Netflix shapes mainstream culture, explained by data]
The decision sparked outrage among Github staff. Around 200 of them signed an open letter asking the company to explain the decision — and publicly denounce Nazis.
The investigation revealed “significant errors of judgment and procedure” the led the software giant’s head of HR to resign, COO Erica Brescia wrote in a blog post:
In light of these findings, we immediately reversed the decision to separate with the employee and are in communication with his representative. To the employee we wish to say publicly: we sincerely apologize.
GitHub also shared statements from CEO Nat Friedman condemning the US Capitol riots, and all discriminatory belief systems:
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.
But the offer to reinstate the employee could well be rejected.
He had reportedly told colleagues that he was unlikely to work in tech again due to its “toxic” culture. GitHub’s apology might not be enough to change his mind.
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