About a third of Basecamp’s employees have said they are resigning after the company, which makes productivity software, announced new policies banning workplace conversations about politics.
Jason Fried, Basecamp’s chief executive, detailed the policies in a blog post on Monday, calling “societal and political discussions” on company messaging tools “a major distraction.” He wrote that the company would also ban committees, cut benefits such as a fitness allowance (with employees receiving the equivalent cash value) and stop “lingering and dwelling on past decisions.”
Basecamp had 57 employees, including Mr. Fried, when the announcement was made, according to a staff list on its website. Since then, at least 20 of them have posted publicly that they intend to resign or have already resigned, according to a tally by The New York Times. Basecamp did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Mr. Fried and David Hansson, two of Basecamp’s founders, have published several books about workplace culture, and news of their latest management philosophy was met with a mix of applause and criticism on social media.
After the newsletter Platformer published details of a dispute within the company that contributed to the decision to ban political talk, Mr. Hansson wrote in another blog post that Basecamp had offered severance of up to six months of salary to employees who disagreed with the founders’ choice.
“We’ve committed to a deeply controversial stance,” Mr. Hansson, Basecamp’s chief technology officer, wrote. “Some employees are relieved, others are infuriated, and that pretty well describes much of the public debate around this too.”
Coinbase, a start-up that allows people to buy and sell cryptocurrencies, announced a similar ban last year, with a similar offer to give severance to employees who disagreed. The company said 60 of its employees had resigned, about 5 percent of its work force.