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Prominent GitHub Engineer Julie Ann Horvath Quits Citing Harrassment 710

Posted by samzenpus
from the hostile-environment dept.
First time accepted submitter PvtVoid writes in with the story of Julie Ann Horvath alleging a culture of sexism at GitHub. "The exit of engineer Julie Ann Horvath from programming network GitHub has sparked yet another conversation concerning women in technology and startups. Her claims that she faced a sexist internal culture at GitHub came as a surprise to some, given her former defense of the startup and her internal work at the company to promote women in technology."
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Prominent GitHub Engineer Julie Ann Horvath Quits Citing Harrassment

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  • by abies (607076) on Monday March 17, 2014 @05:17AM (#46503727)

    So we know one side of the story. But what about the other side? Maybe she was really bad worker and used 'discrimination' card each time to defend her work? "You are saying that this code is bad not because of the code, but just because I'm a woman". It would be nice if somebody could anonymously 'leak' some of her pull requests plus entire conversation around it - and then we could see how much harrasment was from reviewer and how much unfair pushing from her side.

    Problem is that GitHub is at lost position. However bad she was, they will be always painted bad boys for throwing dirt on her, so they will probably keep silent...

  • by schappim (656944) on Monday March 17, 2014 @05:26AM (#46503769)
    They haven't kept entirely silent. They put a post on the issue up here: https://github.com/blog/1800-u... [github.com]
  • Psychotic wife (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LordLucless (582312) on Monday March 17, 2014 @06:08AM (#46503945)

    It seems the lion's share of the problem was a founder's psychotic wife, who basically stalked her - which doesn't seem to have anything to do with gender discrimination, and all to do with one person being a nut-job.

    Of the other issues she raised:
    * Another engineer made a pass at her, got rejected, and didn't handle the rejection will.
    * Some girls were hula-hoop dancing, and guys were watching them

    The first issue might have been a problem, but if it was at all proportionate to the page-space dedicated to discussing it, it sounds like a fairly minor issue, and one that should really be able to be solved by HR. The second is just, well, petty. Sounds like she'd made up her mind to hate the place by that stage, and was finding fault with every little thing.

  • 'twas the wife (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 17, 2014 @06:35AM (#46504079)

    after reading the story it seemed to be almost nothing to do with sexism, and everything to do with the wife not liking the woman. women not liking women, news at 10.

  • by denzacar (181829) on Monday March 17, 2014 @08:16AM (#46504521) Journal

    This is not a gender problem, this is a people problem.

    Quite.
    THIS, as in this particular case, it is primarily obvious mobbing performed on her by the WIFE of one of the founders of GitHub.

    Sure, there are other issues, like the other employee who came out of nowhere professing his love and then started to bully her passive aggressively for "rejecting him".
    Though she was already in "a committed relationship" with another employee of GitHub.

    But this is primarily mobbing, plain and simple. Done by the proverbial "bosses wife".
    FFS - founder who's wife had issues with Horvath demanded her boyfriend to resign cause it was ",bad judgement' to date coworkers".

    I.e. She was pressured by "the wife", while her boyfriend was pressured by "the husband".
    That's NOT SEXISM. They clearly took precautions so it would not be seen as sexism.
    Founder and his wife were MOBBING their employees.

  • by gweihir (88907) on Monday March 17, 2014 @08:18AM (#46504531)

    Except if somebody is ticked off or angry without the company being at fault. For example if they have unrealistic expectations, an unrealistic view of their skills, etc. A common situation. If that combines with them being unprofessional, that is a sure combination for causing serious problems.

  • Re:she's a nutcase (Score:5, Interesting)

    by IamTheRealMike (537420) <mike@plan99.net> on Monday March 17, 2014 @09:25AM (#46505073) Homepage

    There's more hints of this in her article. It starts out by complaining about "aggressive communication on pull requests" and how little the men respected her opinion.

    In quite some years working in the software business I have occasionally seen men and women genuinely be dicks on code review threads, but I have never once seen an entire group of people be dicks simultaneously. What I have seen, repeatedly, is people who do not have any engineering background bump up against the no nonsense, no bullshit get-it-done-now attitude that is pervasive in the software world. This is especially a problem for people from fuzzy marketing-type backgrounds, which is what this woman has, and especially on code review threads, where reviewers always have a backlog and writing each line-by-line comment as if it were a formal business letter would waste staggering amounts of time.

    My experience has been that men love it when a woman turns up and gets real, respectable work done! What men definitely don't love is when they reply to some request saying "That won't work because of X" and this is interpreted as aggressive by the person whose work was not up to scratch (whether it be men or women). If she couldn't get respect on her code review threads and perceived the communication as aggressive, I bet the real story is that nobody was being aggressive but her work simply contained lots of mistakes, and having them pointed out without any cushioning (as is normal) hurt her ego.

    Reading this story has not made any difference to my desire to work for github. It has reminded me of other times in my previous job where similar issues cropped up, though not normally so publicly. The genuine fault ALWAYS lay with the complainer.

  • by SecurityGuy (217807) on Monday March 17, 2014 @10:38AM (#46505789)

    Right. Github is located in a civilized country that also has unions and employment law. Unions aren't active in every company, and not active in most for that matter. Gender discrimination and harassment is illegal pretty much everywhere if not everywhere in the US. IANAL and I'm not going to go check all of the jurisdictions to confirm.

    Everyone who has an opinion about unions seems to have a strong one. My own was formed at my first job where I made around $4/hour and got 1.5x overtime over 40 hours. The union guys got a lot more than that, though in fairness they were experienced and I was a kid, so "more" was quite reasonable. They got overtime and double overtime (3x base rate, or what they called "golden time") if they worked something like > 12 hours in a day, which happened from time to time. None of that really bothered me. Obviously, they just negotiated from a stronger position.

    What bothered me was that they could spend a significant amount of that time just sitting on their butts and no one could do a thing about it. They had a "supervisor" who literally sat in a car all day long "supervising". Eventually, the company managed to get rid of that particular leech and just made one of the regular guys a shift lead or some such, and we got along just fine. The leech's parting words of advice to me were to find a job that paid a lot where I didn't have to do anything. In other words, do exactly what he had done. And then there's seniority. With a union, it doesn't matter if you're any good at your job or not, the only question is how long you've been there. Unions, in my experience, promote mediocrity. Oh, and then there's double dipping. Our work was primarily moving freight from one mode of transport to another. Typically from a ship to a train or truck. One of the enterprising union guys figured out how to sign up to work two ships at a time and only show up for one. He got paid for both. It was widely known that he was doing this, but no one could fire him for what amounted to blatant fraud. Maybe it's more precise to say it wasn't worth the fight with the union to get rid of the guy. Those instances of brazen exploitation turned me off unions.

    Unions do have their place. When employers are abusing the workers, unions can back them off. Unions have enough power, though, that they can also screw over the employers AND the employees, and unchecked, they do.

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