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Lambda School employee breaks NDA, ordered to return severance

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Some of the best-paid jobs today are in the tech industry, and it’s equally old news that many people would like to either start their careers as programmers or switch their careers by learning this craft.

Coding bootcamps are meant to speed up the process for those unwilling or unable to spend time and money getting their CS degree. Instead, these programs are supposed to quickly and efficiently impart basic programming skills on people with little previous knowledge – just enough to make them employable.

One of these is Lambda School, that The Verge has decided is the “the controversial coding bootcamp.”

What happened? Has Lambda shortchanged its customers (as, unfortunately, sometimes happens in the lucrative in its own right industry of coding bootcamps) by not teaching them the skills promised, and paid for?

No, this is about internal politics within the company. Specifically, things like diversity, and labor disputes. (The Verge seems to have had Lambda in its sights for a while now, though, publishing a series of articles accusing it of alleged misdeeds such as poor curriculum and shady investment dealings – so the “diversity” story may simply be the cherry on the cake.)

This latest installment in what looks to be The Verge’s push to shed light – or throw shade, that depends on how you read the situation – on Lambda’s business has to do with Sabrina Baez, a former head of career services.

Baez is a “Latina” who at some point got referred to as “feisty” and a “bulldog” for her unspecified (in The Verge article) diversity initiatives. She spoke about these problems for the site in early February. However, it turns out that when she left Lambda “after the incidents” (i.e., being called “feisty” and “bulldog”) Baez signed a severance agreement, which included $36,000 in cash, plus a non-disclosure agreement (NDA).

When Baez went to The Verge with her story, it would seem the NDA got breeched. And now, Lambda wants the severance money back.

The Verge focuses on the fairness, instead of legality of it all, and that’s fair – if it, in fact, has a leg to stand on.

Lambda CEO Austen Allred told the publisher in early February that it doesn’t.

“Nothing like those statements was reported to us by her or anyone else about her, and if they were, we’d take immediate action,” Allred said.

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