Julie Ann Horvath

GitHub Puts Co-Founder On Leave, Begins Investigation Into Discrimination Against Julie Ann Horvath

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Amidst claims of sexism and intimidation at the startup, GitHub is making moves to quiet the uproar surrounding the departure of engineer Julie Ann Horvath. This evening in a blog post, CEO and co-founder Chris Wanstrath said the company had begun an investigation into the reasons for her leaving.

On Friday, Horvath announced that she had resigned from the startup through a series of tweets that indicated harassment against her by someone at a leadership position at GitHub. Later, she provided a fuller account of the events that led up to her departure to TechCrunch, which included allegations of intimidation by the wife of one of the co-founders, as well as an increasingly sexist environment against women.

In response to those claims, the company is putting the co-founder in question on leave and banning his wife from the GitHub office. Another engineer, who Horvath claims ripped code out of projects that they worked on together after she rejected his romantic advances, has also been put on leave.

While the company won’t confirm the fact, speculation is rampant on Twitter that the co-founder in question is Tom Preston-Werner, who stepped down from the CEO role earlier this year. The speculation mistakenly asserts that Tom Preston-Werner is the only GitHub co-founder who is married, which is false. Co-founder PJ Hyett is also married.

GitHub, of course, will have work to do to overcome claims of sexism in the workplace, especially as it seeks to recruit more women. In the post, Wanstrath said the company had hired an HR Lead who joined in January, and is seeking to ensure that employees can voice their concerns and get the right feedback going forward.