Around a third of Basecamp employees said they were stepping down after the company that makes productivity software announced new guidelines prohibiting discussion of politics in the workplace.

Jason Fried, the managing director of Basecamp, explained the guidelines in a blog entry on Monday, calling “social and political discussions” about corporate messaging tools a “big distraction”. He wrote that the company also prohibits committees, cutting benefits such as a fitness allowance (giving employees cash value) and stopping “dwell on previous decisions and think about them.”

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 publicly announced that they want to resign or have already resigned, according to a New York Times tally. Basecamp did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Mr Fried and David Hansson, two of Basecamp’s founders, have published several books on work culture, and news about their latest management philosophy has received a mixture of applause and criticism on social media.

Published after the Platformer newsletter Details of a dispute Within the company that contributed to the decision to ban political talks, Mr Hansson wrote in another blog post The basecamp had offered employees who did not agree to the choice of founders a severance payment of up to six months’ salary.

“We are committed to a deeply controversial stance,” wrote Hansson, Basecamp’s chief technology officer. “Some employees are relieved, others are angry, and that describes the public debate about it pretty well.”

Coinbase, a startup that allows people to buy and sell cryptocurrencies, has been announced a similar ban last year with a similar offer to provide severance pay to employees who did not agree. The company said 60 of his employees around 5 percent of his workforce had resigned.

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