A Toxic Work Environment, Sexism, Intimidation And Other HR Nightmares

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I don’t want attention, I just want someone to be accountable. When a developer for a Silicon Valley coding firm decided to quit because of what she called a “toxic work environment,” her exit didn’t go well. But it did go viral. And it calls into question yet again about the treatment of women in the tech workplace.

Julie Ann Horvath went to work for GitHub in 2012 when the company was “still pretty small” in her words and its culture was supportive of women, although at the time she was the only female designer or developer on the team.

In these comments she emailed to TechCrunch, Horvath claims the female-friendly vibe didn’t last. “I had a really hard time getting used to the culture, the aggressive communication on pull requests and how little the men I worked with respected and valued my opinion.”

She also said she felt she was being treated differently simply due to her gender and not the quality of her work.

Horvath felt she was being treated differently simply due to her gender and not the quality of her work.

Horvath hoped to be a change agent for the industry. She tried to get more women hired at GitHub. And she decided to start Passion Projects, an outreach program for women designed to strengthen the support network for women who might be experiencing similar things.

“I’ve tried my best to point things out that are fundamentally wrong within organizations I’m a part of, and have often been dismissed or given the ultimatum of keeping quiet or losing my job,” Horvath wrote in a blog post last year.

And that is pretty much what happened at GitHub according to Horvath. It was casual cocktails with the wife of one of the company’s founders though that really sent the situation south.

She told TechCrunch she agreed to meet, “seeing as she was my boss’s wife and I’m always looking to meet women I can look up to.”

However, the conversation quickly turned from casual to inappropriate, says Horvath. “She began telling me about how she informs her husband’s decision-making at GitHub, how I better not leave GitHub and write something bad about them, and how she had been told by her husband that she should intervene with my relationship to be sure I was ‘made very happy’ so that I wouldn’t quit and say something nasty about her husband’s company because ‘he had worked so hard.’”

The founder’s wife claimed to employ “spies” inside of GitHub, and said she can read employees’ private chat-room logs.

The wife also claimed to employ “spies” inside of GitHub, and said she can read employees’ private chat-room logs, which only employees are supposed to have access to.

Horvath has been dating a GitHub employee, and she told him what was happening, and reportedly warned him against getting too close to this founder and his wife.

She says she then received a meeting request from HR at GitHub, and was asked to “relay the details of that personal conversation that took place out of the office.” Horvath says she felt she was “being bullied into leaving.”

The founder asked to see her, Horvath requested an HR presence, and said the meeting did not go well. According to Horvath, he accused her of threatening his wife, called her a “liar,” and said it was “bad judgement” to date coworkers.

After then rejecting the advances of yet another co-worker who “professed his love for her” (are you keeping this all straight?) the wife of the founder continued to show up at the office, sit next to her and “glare” at her for extended periods of time “as if trying to provoke a reaction.” She also said the woman sat next to her at work station and began verbally attacking her.

Horvath did decide to work from hone for a while, and then eventually quit. This is the official response the CEO of GitHub posted on the company blog site.

“I am deeply saddened by these developments and want to comment on what GitHub is doing to address them.

We know we have to take action and have begun a full investigation. While that’s ongoing, and effective immediately, the relevant founder has been put on leave, as has the referenced GitHub engineer. The founder’s wife discussed in the media reports has never had hiring or firing power at GitHub and will no longer be permitted in the office.

GitHub has grown incredibly fast over the past two years, bringing a new set of challenges. Nearly a year ago we began a search for an experienced HR Lead and that person came on board in January 2014. We still have work to do. We know that. However, making sure GitHub employees are getting the right feedback and have a safe way to voice their concerns is a primary focus of the company.

As painful as this experience has been, I am super thankful to Julie for her contributions to GitHub. Her hard work building Passion Projects has made a huge positive impact on both GitHub and the tech community at large, and she’s done a lot to help us become a more diverse company. I would like to personally apologize to Julie. It’s certain that there were things we could have done differently. We wish Julie well in her future endeavors.

source- http://staffingtalk.com/toxic-work-environment-gender/#sthash.yOUjTvtg.dpuf

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