Female Github Worker Brings Employment Law Complaint

A high-profile female software engineer in Silicon Valley has left a tech startup after allegedly suffering from workplace abuse. The woman said she was the victim of a hostile work environment, which was perpetrated by a male employee. The wife of one of the company’s co-founders is also implicated in the claims of harassment in the workplace.

The company, GitHub, had been lauded for its flat organizational structure, which promoted equality in the workplace. Many claimed that the company was a model for a more accepting, diverse tech workplace. Now, though, experts in the industry are wondering whether the company is truly as progressive as was previously thought.

The woman’s departure is punctuated by the fact that she is the head of a “Passion Projects” initiative designed to recruit women into tech positions. The victim, reportedly well-known in the California community, is receiving some vindication after businesses in the area have vowed to halt their trade with GitHub. Other groups are rallying behind the victim, drawing attention to other underrepresented groups in the industry.

GitHub appears to be taking the allegations seriously, however, immediately suspending the project engineer and the co-founder whose wife was party to the harassment. That woman will also not be permitted in the company’s office because of the allegations. Still, those actions may be too little, too late; the victim said the company failed to help her with the situation, despite previous complaints.

Women in non-traditional careers have the right to be protected from harassment in the workplace. Companies’ failure to take prompt corrective action after allegations of harassment could cause ongoing legal problems. A California employment attorney may be able to assist victims who have suffered harassment in the workplace by providing them with additional information and legal guidance.

Source: Wired, “An Advocate for Women in the Valley Quits GitHub, Citing Harassment” Klint Finley, Mar. 17, 2014