GitHub co-founder resigning following harassment investigation

GitHub co-founder resigning following harassment investigation

Summary: UPDATED: Apparently the former GitHub president's resignation also has to do with Oculus VR.

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GitHub, a popular online community and library for software programmers, is under going a shakeup following an internal investigation.

CEO and co-founder Chris Wanstrath shed a little more light on the murky situation in a blog post on Monday, revealing the results of a third-party investigation regarding what might have been alleged to be a less-than-pleasant workplace environment for the San Francisco-based company.

According to Wanstrath, the good news (legally and financially) for GitHub is that there was no evidence found supporting claims made by a GitHub employee against president and co-founder Tom Preston-Werner and his wife, Theresa.

But Preston-Werner is still on his way out the door for unknown reasons anyway.

Acknowledging that things could still be done better, here's Wanstrath's summary of the situation:

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. However, while there may have been no legal wrongdoing, the investigator did find evidence of mistakes and errors of judgment.

The story against the couple leaked in March after GitHub employee Julie Horvath went to the press with details and documents to back up her claims and explain her departure.

GitHub followed up shortly thereafter with the promise of an investigation while also admitting that the six-year old company didn't hire a full-time, experienced HR lead until January 2014.

UPDATED: Tom Preston-Werner published a statement of his own from his home in New York City on Monday, aiming to clear the air about he and his wife's reputations as well as an explanation for his resignation.

"Unfortunately, the investigation and all the attention surrounding it have me concerned that remaining at GitHub would be a distraction for both me and the company," wrote Preston-Werner.

His departure from the company he helped establish in 2008 also has to do with an interested in augmented reality technology since visiting the Oculus VR offices. His wife will also be involved with Manhattan-based startup incubator Techstars NYC.

In reflection of each of the couple's startup projects, Preston-Werner concluded, "I'm telling you this because I think stealth mode is bullshit and if you feel the same way I do about immersive computing then I want to talk with you about it."

Topics: CXO, Start-Ups, IT Employment, Tech Industry, Web development

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  • This reads like a settlement

    What sorts of errors of judgment did Mr. Preston-Werner make? We dunno. I can understand resigning to protect the organization from controversy, but this is one of the consequences. If he and his wife are guilty, they should be prosecuted; if not, their names should be cleared so they can have their reputations back. Unfortunately, the probable outcome is that neither will happen and both spouses will be left in a reputational limbo for years to come.

    Not at all a good thing.
    John L. Ries