Reddit’s CEO Allegedly Fired an Employee For Having Cancer and Not Recovering Fast Enough

Ellen Pao walks to a courtroom in San Francisco Superior Court in San Francisco

(UPDATE 12:31 p.m. Pacific: Dacvak’s AMA has been removed from Reddit’s front page.)

In the midst of all the chaos today surrounding the firing of a Victoria Taylor, a key employee at reddit who was loved by many, another controversy has emerged in the community.

Redditor Dacvak, who is a moderator for popular subreddits /r/IAmA, /r/gaming, /r/Games and /r/pics, has come forward in a reddit post alleging that he was fired earlier this year by CEO Ellen Pao for having leukemia and not recovering fast enough.

Dacvak claims he was hired as a Community Manager in late 2011. In early 2012, he was supposed to move to San Francisco when he was diagnosed with Leukemia.

I spent the next six of seven months in the hospital and received four enormous rounds of chemo as well as a bone marrow transplant. During my treatment (the day after my birthday, actually), reddit had made a company blog post about my diagnosis, reaching out to the community to help me find a bone marrow donor. reddit had also made the choice to keep my position open until I was able to return healthy and able to work.”

The alleged former employee was eventually cured of leukemia, but unfortunately had a relapse and his cancer came back. Fortunately, reddit’s then-CEO, Yishan Wong, allowed him to keep his job and continued paying him until he was ready to work again.

In January 2015, Dacvak recovered and was about to move to San Francisco as per new company policies. He wrote:

“During this time, I had sat down with Ellen Pao (current reddit CEO) to discuss my future at reddit and when I was able to move. I had told her that it would still be at least a month (but probably closer to 2 or 3) before I was finally able to move to SF, and she said she was 100% fine with that. We discussed my position, and ultimately determined that I would be returning to the Community Management team. I met some of the new members of the team, all was well, and then I flew home on day 3.

Less than a month later, in February of 2015, I received a call from Ellen stating that I was to be terminated in less than a week. When I asked what the specific reason was, she had roughly stated that “because of our discussion, you are too sick to properly fulfill your duties as Community Manager.” (At no point during our meeting was this stated – I had raised concerns about the stress levels of Community Management, but had ultimately decided that it was something I could easily manage.)

I pleaded with Ellen to let me stay, as I had been sick for over a full year now and the only thing that was on my mind was coming back to work – work I loved so very, very much. She finally stated that if I were to get permission from my doctor stating that it was okay for me to move to SF and begin work, that I would be able to come back. I stated this wouldn’t be a problem, and proceeded to contact my doctor to arrange this. Unfortunately, a day later, she had called and once again stated that I was fired, stating that work would be too demanding for my health (something that I still, personally, should have been decided by me and my doctor – not someone who I had effectively never worked with while she was CEO).”

Dacvak also chimed in on the firing of Victoria Taylor:

“Victoria (aka /u/chooter) was, without question, one of the nicest, most passionate, most efficient workers at reddit, and I honestly can’t fathom why she would have been terminated. It was such an honor to work with her, and as many mods have already stated, she truly took her work to heart and tried to provide a service to the community. She was one of the most well-known admins and was just incredible at her job. Without her, there would be hundreds of incredible AMAs that would have never happened.

My guess as to why she was fired is as good as anyone else’s, but if I had to muster up some explanation, it would be that reddit is likely trying to turn AMAs into something they currently aren’t. (Perhaps sponsored AMAs? I don’t know.) Otherwise there would have been no reason to let Victoria go. Literally everyone at the company loved her, including me, and it’s an enormous shame to see her go.”

Others have so far only speculated as to why Taylor was fired.

He also weighed in on the culture of reddit as a company since Pao took the reigns as CEO.

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Apart from all the controversy, Dacvak stresses that his time working at reddit has been mostly filled with great experiences. Check out his AMA.

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