- GitHub admitted on Sunday that it made “significant errors of judgement” when it fired an employee who suggested that “Nazis” were among the Capitol rioters.
- The company said its head of HR stepped down on Saturday, and that it is offering the employee his job back.
- “To the employee we wish to say publicly: we sincerely apologize,” Erica Brescia, GitHub’s COO, said in a statement.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
GitHub said Sunday that it should not have fired a Jewish employee and that it is offering him his job back after hundreds of his colleagues protested the decision.
The Microsoft-owned company terminated the employee two days after he suggested in an internal chat room that “Nazis” were among the rioters who breached the US Capitol on January 6, Insider first reported.
The employee told Insider that GitHub’s HR department reprimanded him for a
message he wrote on the day of the insurrection: “stay safe homies, Nazis are about.”
The firing sparked a backlash within GitHub, which saw employees circulate a letter Monday demanding that the company denounce white supremacy and answer questions about the worker’s termination. GitHub CEO Nat Friedman said Monday that the company “will take any and all appropriate action following a thorough investigation,” in an internal memo viewed by Insider.
GitHub ended up hiring an outside firm to investigate the matter, it said in a blog post published Sunday. The investigation, which concluded on Friday, revealed “significant errors of judgement and procedure,” GitHub COO Erica Brescia said in the blog post. Brescia said the tech company is offering the employee his job back.
“In light of these findings, we immediately reversed the decision to separate with the employee and are in communication with his representative,” Brescia said. “To the employee we wish to say publicly: we sincerely apologize.”
GitHub also announced that its head of HR has “taken personal accountability” and resigned on Saturday.
The January 6 riot attracted a wide range of extremist groups who displayed a variety of hate symbols and imagery. One widely circulated photo of a group of rioters inside the US Capitol included a man wearing a shirt that read “Camp Auschwitz,” in reference to the Nazi concentration camp where more than 1 million people were killed.
In Sunday’s blog post, GitHub reiterated some statements it had previously issued condemning the violence at the Capitol.
“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 company said.
It also repeated a statement on the company’s internal-messaging policies that appears to be at odds with the employee’s firing last week. “Employees are free to express concerns about Nazis, antisemitism, white supremacy or any other form of discrimination or harassment in internal discussions,” GitHub said.