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23rd Feb 2016

Yelp! Employee Fired After Open Letter To CEO Publicises That She Can’t Afford To Pay For Groceries

CEO Jeremy Stoppelman has a personal net worth of $222million.

If you dream of a career in bustling Silicon Valley, it’s expected you’ll work hard, long hours.

You also probably assume you’ll earn enough to get by – but this blog post from former Yelp! employee Talia Jane wanted to set the record straight.

According to Mashable, Talia penned a blog post to her CEO last Friday, pointing out that being paid below minimum wage was having a seriously dangerous effect on her, and her co-workers:

‘So here I am, 25-years old, balancing all sorts of debt and trying to pave a life for myself that doesn’t involve crying in the bathtub every week. Every single one of my co-workers is struggling. They’re taking side jobs, they’re living at home.

‘One of them started a GoFundMe because she couldn’t pay her rent. She ended up leaving the company and moving east, somewhere the minimum wage could double as a living wage. Another wrote on those neat whiteboards we’ve got on every floor begging for help because he was bound to be homeless in two weeks.’

She detailed how she couldn’t afford to buy her groceries since her rent consumes 80% of her salary – leaving only a fraction of money for bills:

‘I haven’t bought groceries since I started this job.

‘Bread is a luxury to me, even though you’ve got a whole fridge full of it on the 8th floor. But we’re not allowed to take any of that home because it’s for at-work eating.’

Just hours after her blog post, Talia was fired for ‘violating Yelp’s “Terms of Conduct”.’

While CEO Jeremy Stoppelman agreed with the issue of renting in the San Francisco Bay area being too expensive, he refused to acknowledge claims of paying below minimum wage to his call-centre workers.

Not surprised by the (lack of) response, Talia tweeted:

Stoppelman has a personal net worth of around $222 million, but according to Talia’s blog post, pays workers $8.15 an hour after taxes working in the customer support section for Yelp and Eat24.

Minimum wage in San Francisco (where Yelp’s headquarters are located) is $12.25 an hour, but is set to rise to $15 an hour by 2018.