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 (MSFT)

GitHub CEO Nat Friedman

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On January 6th — the day of the siege of the US Capitol by a mob of Trump supporters — an employee at Microsoft-owned GitHub took to an internal Slack chat room to warn coworkers in the greater Washington DC area to “stay safe homies, Nazis are about,” with a sad emoji.

A coworker was quick to criticize the employee for using divisive rhetoric, igniting a firestorm of internal debate, with many jumping in to take sides. That same day, HR reprimanded the employee, who is Jewish, for using the word “Nazi” in the workplace.

On Friday, two days later, the employee told Insider that he was terminated, with human resources citing unspecified “patterns of behavior.” The employee asked not to be named, citing concerns over online harassment, but his identity is known to Insider.

“I did not know that, as a Jew, it would be so polarizing to say this word,” the former employee wrote in a Slack group for Jewish employees, in a message viewed by Insider. The employee says he sent the message during the meeting where he was officially terminated from GitHub, before his corporate accounts got deactivated.

“We grew up saying [Nazi],” he wrote in the message. “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.” He also said in his message that he likely wouldn’t work in tech again because of its “toxic” culture.

Now, GitHub is facing internal backlash, with about 200 of its some 1700 employees signing on to an open letter asking management for answers about the firing of that employee, according to two people familiar with the situation. In the letter, GitHub employees ask the company to take a firmer stand against anti-Semitism and white supremacy, and say that they no longer feel like it’s a safe place to work.

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In response to the letter, GitHub CEO Nat Friedman sent a message on Monday to employees to denounce the siege on the Capitol last week. In the message, viewed by Insider, Friedman also said that the company is looking into the circumstances surrounding the employee’s termination and “will take any and all appropriate action following a thorough investigation.” You can read more excerpts from his message below.

“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,” Friedman wrote in his message. “Antisemitism, neonazis, 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.”

Microsoft, GitHub’s parent company, has also denounced the siege of the US Capitol, joining many of its peers in the tech industry in doing so. The $1.6 trillion tech titan is seeing its own internal backlash, as some employees object to the Microsoft PAC’s donations to many of the Republicans who opposed certifying the election results last …read more

Source:: Businessinsider – Tech


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