GitHub admitted on Sunday that it made "significant errors of judgment" when it fired an employee who suggested that "Nazis" were among the Capitol rioters.
The company said that its head of HR stepped down on Saturday and that it was offering the employee his job back.
"To the employee we wish to say publicly: we sincerely apologize," COO Erica Brescia said in a statement.
GitHub said on Sunday that it should not have fired a Jewish employee and that it was offering him his job back after hundreds of his colleagues protested the decision.
The Microsoft-owned company terminated the employee two days after he suggested in an internal chat room that "Nazis" were among the rioters who breached the US Capitol on January 6, Insider first reported.
The employee told Insider that GitHub's human-resources department reprimanded him for a Slack message he wrote on the day of the insurrection that said "stay safe homies, Nazis are about."
The firing sparked a backlash within GitHub. Employees circulated a letter on Monday demanding that the company denounce white supremacy and answer questions about the worker's termination. In an internal memo viewed by Insider, GitHub CEO Nat Friedman said the company "will take any and all appropriate action following a thorough investigation."
GitHub ended up hiring an outside firm to investigate the matter, Chief Operating Officer Erica Brescia said in a blog post published Sunday. The investigation, which concluded on Friday, "revealed significant errors of judgment and procedure," Brescia said, adding that the tech company was offering the employee his job back.
"In light of these findings, we immediately reversed the decision to separate with the employee and are in communication with his representative," Brescia said. "To the employee we wish to say publicly: we sincerely apologize."
Brescia also said GitHub's head of HR had "taken personal accountability" and resigned on Saturday.
The January 6 riot attracted a range of extremist groups that displayed a variety of hate symbols and imagery. One widely circulated photo of a group of rioters included a man wearing a shirt that read "Camp Auschwitz," referring to the Nazi concentration camp where more than 1 million people were killed.
The blog post reiterated some statements GitHub had issued condemning the violence at the Capitol.
"It was appalling last week to watch a violent mob, including Nazis and white supremacists, attack the US Capitol. That these hateful ideologies were able to reach the sacred seat of our democratic republic in 2021 is sickening," the company said.
It also repeated a statement about the company's internal-messaging policies that appeared to be at odds with the employee's firing last week: "Employees are free to express concerns about Nazis, antisemitism, white supremacy or any other form of discrimination or harassment in internal discussions."
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