In a blog post today, GitHub’s CEO Chris Wanstrath apologized for not being transparent about an internal investigation into allegations that former employee Julie Anne Horvath was sexually harassed.
GitHub’s former CEO and co-founder Tom Preston-Werner resigned following the allegations. Wanstrath wrote on the company’s blog at the time that an investigation into the incident was being conducted.
“The investigation found no evidence to support the claims against Tom and his wife of sexual or gender-based harassment or retaliation, or of a sexist or hostile work environment,” Wanstrath wrote. “However, while there may have been no legal wrongdoing, the investigator did find evidence of mistakes and errors of judgment. In light of these findings, Tom has submitted his resignation, which the company has accepted.”
In today’s blog post, Wanstrath said that the company paid for a third-party investigator named Rhoma Young, who conduced more than 50 interviews over a four-week period, including an interview with Horvath. According to Wanstrath, here’s what the investigator found:
Founder allegations. The investigation found Tom Preston-Werner in his capacity as GitHub’s CEO acted inappropriately, including confrontational conduct, disregard of workplace complaints, insensitivity to the impact of his spouse’s presence in the workplace, and failure to enforce an agreement that his spouse should not work in the office. There were also issues surrounding the solicitation of GitHub employees for non-GitHub business and the inappropriate handling of employee concerns regarding those solicitations.
After being presented with the results we felt Tom could no longer be an effective leader at GitHub. He offered his resignation and we accepted.
Engineer allegations. The investigation found no information to support misconduct or opportunistic behaviour by the engineer against Julie or any other female employees in the workplace. Furthermore, there was no information found to support Julie’s allegation that the engineer maliciously deleted her code. The commit history, push log, and all issues and pull requests involving Julie and the accused engineer were reviewed. The investigation considered all possible commits surrounding the accusation of passive-aggressive code removal. One instance was found where the engineer updated and broke some CSS in an internal application, which was fixed in a later commit. The investigator determined this change did not appear malicious.
GitHub’s working environment. Rhoma spent a significant amount of time investigating Julie’s claims of sexual and gender based harassment. After interviewing over 50 employees, former employees, and reviewing evidence, Rhoma found nothing to support a sexist or discriminatory environment at GitHub, and no information to suggest retaliation against Julie for making sex/gender harassment complaints. Employees were asked about their experiences here, good and bad. Women at GitHub reported feeling supported, mentored, and protected at work, and felt they are treated equitably and are provided opportunities.
Horvath took to Twitter, saying she was “satisfied” with the blog post, but noted that she did not think that the investigation was unbiased.
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