LEADERSHIP / MAR. 19, 2014
version 3, draft 3

One Woman's Fight Against Gender Discrimination

GitHub. Maybe you've heard of the name? It's an open-source coding platform that was launched in 2008 by Tom Preston-Werner, Chris Wanstrath, and PJ Hyett.

This past Sunday, Wanstrath made a blog announcement that an engineer and co-founder has been put on leave. Why? Because the unidentified person is currently part of an investigation into allegations of gender-based harassment.

Julie Ann Horvath--a respected engineer responsible for leading women's initiatives at GitHub--tweeted on Friday about the harassment she endured from this anonymous figure.

The tweet read, "My only regret is not leaving or being fired sooner. What I endured as an employee of GitHub is unacceptable and went unnoticed by most."

Horvath elaborated--in an interview with TechCrunch--on why she quit. Allegedly, the co-founder wasn't the only one partaking in harassment.

She claimed that his wife was also in on the discrimination. There was also another case--according to Horvath--where a coworker sabotaged a project she helped him develop as a reprisal for Horvath rejecting his romantic advances.

Wanstrath swiftly responded to the allegations, stating that the co-founder--as well as the engineer--have been put on leave. There are only three co-founders listed in GitHub's website--including Wanstrath--but the identity of the person in question still remains a mystery.

Why are these things even happening at GitHub?

Wanstrath said that the company's young age and rapid growth--mostly on account of a $100 million investment--is a factor.

"GitHub has grown incredibly fast over the past two years, bringing a new set of challenges," explained Wanstrath. The company hired an HR lead, but, "we still have work to do."

Wansrath apologized to Horvath and thanked her for her professionalism and other contributions to GitHub.

He said, "She's done a lot to help us become a more diverse company."

"Update on Julie Horvath's Departure" is a memo written by Wansrath.

Read the full version below:

This weekend, GitHub employee Julie Horvath spoke publicly about negative experiences she had at GitHub that contributed to her resignation. I am deeply saddened by these developments and want to comment on what GitHub is doing to address them.

 

We know we have to take action and have begun a full investigation. While that’s ongoing, and effective immediately, the relevant founder has been put on leave, as has the referenced GitHub engineer. The founder’s wife discussed in the media reports has never had hiring or firing power at GitHub and will no longer be permitted in the office.

GitHub has grown incredibly fast over the past two years, bringing a new set of challenges. Nearly a year ago we began a search for an experienced HR Lead and that person came on board in January 2014. We still have work to do. We know that. However, making sure GitHub employees are getting the right feedback and have a safe way to voice their concerns is a primary focus of the company.

As painful as this experience has been, I am super thankful to Julie for her contributions to GitHub. Her hard work building Passion Projects has made a huge positive impact on both GitHub and the tech community at large, and she’s done a lot to help us become a more diverse company. I would like to personally apologize to Julie. It’s certain that there were things we could have done differently. We wish Julie well in her future endeavors.

Chris Wanstrath

CEO & Co-Founder

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