Yelp employee fired after making public post about her salary; CEO responds
NEW YORK — San Francisco needs to lower the cost of housing. That’s the CEO of Yelp talking.
Jeremy Stoppelman made those comments via Twitter in responding to a former employee’s open letter complaining about the company’s low wages and the struggle to get by in San Francisco.
The letter, written by Talia Jane, details her experiences working at Yelp and difficulties affording transportation to and from work, rent and other necessities.
She rented an apartment 30 miles away from the company’s office, but struggles to afford rent, making only $12.25 an hour.
Jane said she had to cut back on groceries in order to afford her rent and bills. She said that she didn’t expect to be hungry every night— even with a full time job.
Jane posted the letter to Medium on Friday and noted in a later update that she had been let go from the company.
“This was entirely unplanned (but I guess not completely unexpected?) but any help until I find new employment would be extremely appreciated,” Jane wrote.
She included links to her PayPal, Venmo and Square Cash accounts for donations.
In the letter, Jane mentioned that Stoppelman frequently posts about increasing homelessness in San Francisco. She said many Yelp employees face similar hard times.
On Saturday, Stoppelman addressed the letter on his Twitter account in a series of five posts.
“Late last night I read Talia’s medium contribution and want to acknowledge her point that the cost of living in SF is far too high,” Stoppelman tweeted.
He continued by noting that he’s “been focused” on the high cost of living in San Francisco and has backed a group trying to bring awareness to the issue.
He also noted that he’s often spoken out about the importance of making housing more affordable.
“I’ve not been personally involved in Talia being let go and it was not because she posted a Medium letter directed at me,” Stoppelman tweeted.
He added that there are “[t]wo sides to every HR story” and asked the “Twitter army” to put down its “pitchforks.”
“The reality of such a high Bay Area cost of living is … entry level jobs migrate to where costs of living are lower,” Stoppelman concluded. “Have already announced we are growing EAT24 support in AZ for this reason.”
Jane believed the company was not honest about why she got fired. “Yelp is trying to make this die down by lying about it,” She told BuzzFeed news. “Firing someone while their post about pay issues is on the cusp of going viral, that’s like a lightning strike in the middle of a super-dry forest. Things have just exploded.”