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GitHub Founder Resigns Following Harassment Investigation 182

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the don't-be-mean dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Late Yesterday, GitHub concluded its investigation regarding sexual harassment within its work force, and although it found no evidence of 'legal wrongdoing,' Tom Preston-Werner, one of its founding members implicated in the investigation resigned. In its statement, GitHub vows to implement 'a number of new HR and employee-led initiatives as well as training opportunities to make sure employee concerns and conflicts are taken seriously and dealt with appropriately.' Julie Ann Horvath, the former GitHub employee whose public resignation last month inspired the sexual harassment investigation, found the company's findings to be gratuitous and just plain wrong."
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GitHub Founder Resigns Following Harassment Investigation

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  • by erikkemperman (252014) on Tuesday April 22, 2014 @08:19AM (#46813813)

    You're probably right that in general such phrases have been subject to so much inflation so as to be almost meaningless by now.

    In this specific case though, Ms Horvath claimed that a male co-worker showed up at her house with romantic ideas. And that he subsequently reverted some of her patches, presumably because she didn't go along. I think that qualifies as sexual harassment, even in the pre-inflation sense of the word?

    Incidentally, some of the press reports have been getting it wrong; the harassment accusations were NOT about this founder, or his wife, but another guy at GH (who has apparently been promoted since).

  • a... what? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 22, 2014 @08:24AM (#46813825)

    Tom Preston-Werner, one of its founding members implicated in the investigation a... resigned.

    a is for apple, but that doesn't fit the sentence.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 22, 2014 @08:27AM (#46813843)
    What part of ex is hard to understand?
  • wife at the office (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 22, 2014 @08:34AM (#46813877)

    the claim is from a woman who got upset over their use of "meritocracy", because judging on merit alone is wrong. you should give bonus points for race, gender identity, and financial background.

    seriously, the only problem I saw was the not-employed-by-the-company wife thinking she was in charge when the CEO wasn't around. I have worked for a few small businesses where it's like that. the wife/mom just walks in and starts bossing people around, sometimes even using employees to do personal errands.

  • Good. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by benjfowler (239527) on Tuesday April 22, 2014 @08:35AM (#46813891)

    It's 2014, but you wouldn't know it, by looking on here.

    Male Slashdotters -- think of how you'd feel, if somebody powerful was sexually harassing your wife, (I know, alien concept for many Slashdotters, but bear with me), mother or sister, and could leverage that power to do what they like with impunity. Not a good feeling now, is it?

    Criminal, bullying, and anti-social behaviour should always be caught out and punished. It's good to see somebody being made an example out of.

  • by erikkemperman (252014) on Tuesday April 22, 2014 @08:46AM (#46813953)

    ... and mod me down into the dirt, even though deep down you know I'm right.

    More likely, because they get this weird impression that you might be a misogynous reactionary.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 22, 2014 @08:53AM (#46813987)

    "deep down you know I'm right."

    Behold the power of psychological projection.

    Inconceivable as it may seem to you, everyone does NOT actually think the same way you do.

  • by wisnoskij (1206448) on Tuesday April 22, 2014 @08:57AM (#46814019) Homepage

    Some of her patches were reverted by a co-worker? How traumatic for her.

    Who could take anything seriously from someone would quit the moment the quality of their work was even slightly put into question by a single co-worker?

  • by luis_a_espinal (1810296) on Tuesday April 22, 2014 @09:05AM (#46814065) Homepage

    What part of ex is hard to understand?

    Indeed. I'd add that part is the same part creepy sociopaths do not get when they "misunderstand" a "no" for a "yes".

    Anyone who says this:

    The "other guy" being an ex boyfriend

    is the type of person I would not want near me, friends, co-workers or relavites.

  • by luis_a_espinal (1810296) on Tuesday April 22, 2014 @09:09AM (#46814101) Homepage

    And women wonder why companies are so reluctant to hire them.

    It is not "companies". Not even "some companies", but some men.

    Having an all male workforce means not having to deal with headaches like this.

    It also means fostering an environment where juvenile-minded males never grow up into reasonable, professional men, fostering a culture that eventually and surely will spawn a molester or sociopath.

    Posting AC because you liberal pussies are going to clutch your pearls and mod me down into the dirt, even though deep down you know I'm right.

    No, you are wrong. I know that deep down. Posting as myself because my gonads prevent me from posting like a coward.

  • by wonkey_monkey (2592601) on Tuesday April 22, 2014 @09:14AM (#46814153) Homepage

    Or, you know, just anyone who gives half a shit would do.

    Tom Preston-Werner, one of its founding members implicated in the investigation a... resigned

  • You also cannot verify the credibility of the original accusation, so where does that leave us?

  • Translation? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rabtech (223758) on Tuesday April 22, 2014 @09:31AM (#46814295) Homepage

    Translation of GitHub's weasel words: "Our lawyers told us not to admit to anything or we could be liable in a lawsuit. The company we hired to tell us we aren't liable in a lawsuit told us we aren't liable in a lawsuit."

    Maybe Horvath isn't entirely in the right here but it is clear that the co-founder must have intimidated her as she claimed and/or let his wife (a non-employee) run amok. GitHub even admitted as much when the original story broke and re-banned his wife from the building. GitHub's legaleze non-statement doesn't address this at all.

    The anonymous medium post is being given far more credence than it deserves because it fits the narrative people want to have about the story. Just be honest... You want the truth to be that Horvath somehow did wrong and brought this on herself because the alternative is that a fun cool company that has good technology also did a bad thing.

    Let us not forget that Horvath did not bring any of this up in the first place - she simply quit. It was an anonymous person (that was suspected of being the founder's wife at the time) who posted about it, thus eliciting a reply from Horvath.

    Again, according to Horvath, the supposed "investigators" never bothered to contact her until a day or two before wrapping up the "investigation". It seems very clear GitHub hired them to obtain a foregone conclusion.

    I don't see how any of this is shocking. It is 100% believable (and by Occam's razor probably true) that the founder's wife was allowed to run around like she owned the place, got into a conflict with Horvath, then when it blew up Preston-Werner jumped to his wife's defense (understandable) without thinking about the implications of allowing your non-employee relative to even put you in that kind of situation to begin with; he certainly didn't consider what it would be like for an employee to be cornered by a co-founder over it. Then when it became public, they called the lawyers, circled the wagons, etc. I also would be shocked if some of the anonymous stories are by GitHubbers who are just repeating internal rumors and rising to defend the company they like, without any actual direct knowledge of what happened.

  • by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Tuesday April 22, 2014 @09:33AM (#46814317) Journal

    Posting AC because you liberal pussies are going to clutch your pearls and mod me down into the dirt, even though deep down you know I'm right

    I post messages using my own account and I know how they have modded my posts deep down into the abyss, but why should I be scared of *them* ??

    Their behavior is so damn predictable ... they say one thing but their action reflects another.

    For example: They say they believe in "freedom" but they are the one who will do _anything_ to silence their critics.

    They will also stick all kinds of labels onto their opponents, in the hope that the labels would somehow ruin their opponents' reputation.

    In other words, they are pussies.

    Why should we have to be scared of them pussies?

  • Re:Good. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Charliemopps (1157495) on Tuesday April 22, 2014 @09:36AM (#46814339)

    Except that, we have no idea what happened. The problem with harassment is that it's a he said/she said thing. There is one allegation, from one person and we have no idea about either persons integrity. He quit but it may very well just been out of disgust. Or maybe they were having an affair and it got out of hand. We have no idea. Judging either of them based on no other evidence than what they've both said would be wrong. If there were more allegations, if the guy hadn't been working there for years without incident, I might have another opinion. Yes, men do say things to women they shouldn't. But there are also plenty of women out there that will use harassment as a revenge tactic against men they dislike. I have no idea which happened here, so I reserve judgement until there is more evidence.

  • by Murrdox (601048) on Tuesday April 22, 2014 @09:52AM (#46814465)
    It's interesting reading the opposite side of this story. However, this has pretty low credibility to me. We're dealing with one story which is being publicly told by an individual who is putting her name out there, and standing behind her words. This rebuttal consists of a few loose allegations with no facts to back them up, posted by a generic anonymous coward. It reads more like office gossip than a factual rebuttal.

    However, I have a few thoughts on it.

    - It's insinuated that Julie is being deceitful by hiding the fact that the engineer is an ex-boyfriend. If it is, in fact, true that it was an ex-boyfriend, it's equally reasonable that Julie excluded that part of the story from her public side of the tale in order to protect his identity and not publicly call him out. Keep in mind Julie didn't even mention the founder or his wife by name.

    - It's insinuated that the engineer's advances were "OK" because he was an "ex". This is simply false. Just because you had a relationship with someone doesn't make it OK to harass you.

    - It's insinuated that Julie didn't have any issues with the retaliation that the engineer used against her. However if you read Julie's story, she obviously did. She may just not have come forward about it immediately, which is what happens in MANY cases of retaliation and harassment. It's easier and more comfortable to deal with the issue on your own, hope it blows over by itself, etc.

    - The back-and-forth regarding the wife just sounds like meaningless he-said she-said. I'll believe it if the wife comes forward publicly and says something about it, but this just sounds like 3rd person rumor mongering to me.

    - The insinuation that the "Passion Projects" at GitHub was somehow a bribe to get Julie to stop "threatening" the founder's family is a pretty serious allegation to make without any factual information to back it up, and posted anonymously.
  • by DNS-and-BIND (461968) on Tuesday April 22, 2014 @10:51AM (#46815075) Homepage
    Is it really "misogynous" (sic) to point out that sexual harassment charges are frequently abused? I don't know what's more troubling, the fact that this happens, or the fact that those who speak out about it are silenced.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 22, 2014 @01:01PM (#46816231)

    If there's anything to learn from this an the Mozilla Eich affair, it's that the correct response to dealing with the PC Police is to ignore them entirely. Nothing will ever be enough. Apologizing isn't enough. Pledging to meet their entire demands won't be enough. Resigning isn't enough.

    The only solution is to ignore the feminist and LGBT crowd entirely. They'll never bend, they exist only to destroy any they've set in their sights.

  • by jjohnson (62583) on Tuesday April 22, 2014 @01:32PM (#46816555) Homepage

    If you mean "the official story from the people hired by github to investigate github's wrongdoing, who found that their employer github did nothing wrong, but for totally unrelated reasons one of our founders is going to spend more time with his other interests," then I agree.

The test of intelligent tinkering is to save all the parts. -- Aldo Leopold