GitHub offers to re-hire staff member it fired for calling Capitol attackers Nazis

The Microsoft-owned software hub GitHub has offered a Jewish employee who compared the Capitol Hill rioters to Nazis their job back, after initially firing them for the offense.

The employee had used an internal Slack chat room to tell collagues in the Washington DC area to “stay safe homies, Nazis are about,” Business Insider first reported.

A co-worker criticised the employee for their language, leading to a debate about the use of the term. The same day, GitHub’s human resources department reprimanded the employee, who had their position terminated two days later.

“I did not know that, as a Jew, it would be so polarizing to say this word,” the former employee reportedly wrote in a Slack group.

The employee said that he was fired for “patterns of behaviour” and was seeking a written explanation from the company about what this could refer to, but had not yet received it.

Following on from the controversy, 200 of GitHub’s 1700 employees signed an open letter demanding management take a firmer stand against antisemitism and white supremacy.

In response to the letter, GitHub CEO Nat Friedman sent a message to employees, Business Insider reported.

“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,” Mr 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.”

In a blog post published on 17 January,  GitHub’s COO Erica Brescia wrote that “the investigation revealed significant errors of judgment and procedure” and that the company’s “head of HR has taken personal accountability and resigned from GitHub.”

GitHub did not disclose the name of the person who resigned.

The company has “reversed the decision to separate with the employee”, and had contacted them to resume their position, it said.

Speaking to TechCrunch, the former employee said that he would not be interested in returning to GitHub, but would be “interested in other forms of reconciliation”.

GitHub also issued statements condemning the attack on the Capitol, antisemitism, neo-Nazis, and white supremacy, as well as “all other forms of racism”.

Leave a Reply