In an ironic twist, a Yelp (NYSE: YELP) employee was fired over something that is one of the core themes of the business - food. The crowd sourced review website based in San Francisco hit the headlines after they let go of an employee for making a rather public post to their CEO.
Open letter sparks furore
The 25 year old employee, Talia Jane went public with a rant to Jeremy Stoppelman, CEO of Yelp. Her open letter posted on Medium, was titled, as one would expect as ‘An Open Letter To My CEO.’ The fresh grad, in her letter goes into details about how with her entry level salary she is scarce able to afford even food to live on. She explains how her USD 733.24 bi-weekly salary made it impossible for her to get heating for her home an apartment in the Bay area, and made her wage a daily battle with hunger. The letter created waves online as debates on entitled millennials, fair wages and more, raged on.
Expectations meet reality
Talia Jane was part of the customer support team operating out of the region, for the SFO headquartered firm. She was recently informed that the firm would not be able to promote her for at least a year, a move that could have seen her move out to another department. As an inexperienced college grad with an English Literature degree, with only tutoring and some freelancing jobs under her belt, she had seen joining Yelp/Eat24 in the customer support team as a fair opportunity, thinking of it as a quick stepping stone into meatier roles in the media team of the company. Reeling under debt, this new information came as a shock for Jane who decided to pen this open letter to the CEO.
A costly price to pay
Living in the Bay area, even at a place that’s 40 miles from her former employer’s office, she had to fork out USD 1245 in rent, something that cost her 80 percent of her paycheck. The commute ran her USD 11.30 every day leaving her little for food. She had been living off groceries purchased when she first moved there to work, and supplemented it with meals at her family home. Jane was informed by someone from HR and her manager shortly after the post was spotted, that she had violated the terms of conduct at Yelp and was being asked to leave.
Yelp CEO responds
While empathizing with the prohibitively high cost of living in the Bay area, CEO Stoppelman said he had not been involved in the decision to fire Jane. He did use the moment to address the issue of the high cost of housing in the region, and highlighted his support for the San Francisco Bay Area Renters Federation and the move by EAT24 to grow their presence in Arizona due to the high costs in the Bay area.