Yelp Employee Fired After Telling CEO She Couldn't Afford Groceries

| by Sean Kelly
 jeremy stoppelman jeremy stoppelman

A Yelp employee was fired after telling her CEO that she couldn't afford groceries — later publishing a blog post about her struggles that quickly went viral.

Talia Jane, an employee at Yelp's Eat24, published the post on Medium, revealing the financial situation among employees at Yelp.

"Every single one of my coworkers is struggling," she wrote. "They’re taking side jobs, they’re living at home. One of them started a GoFundMe because she couldn’t pay her rent."

"Another guy who got hired, and ultimately let go, was undoubtedly homeless," she said.

The long post was updated two hours after it was originally written, with the news that she'd been fired.

"As of 5:43pm PST, I have been officially let go from the company," she wrote. "This was entirely unplanned (but I guess not completely unexpected?) but any help until I find new employment would be extremely appreciated."

The young woman said the firing came out of nowhere, and not even her manager knew it was happening.

"My manager wasn't even notified until I called him," she tweeted. "This didn't come from my department. This came from ... the big guy."

Talia Jane, who received $733.24 bi-weekly and $8.15 per hour after taxes, told Business Insider that her company was aware of how much she'd been struggling.

"I brought up the wages in every quarterly meeting I had with my managers," she said. "They were well aware that I was struggling despite doing what I could with what I had. The last straw was when I woke up yesterday two hours after going to sleep because my stomach hurt from hunger." 

"And it's something I'm used to, but this time it was really driving me to put something in my stomach immediately — I couldn't wait 15 minutes for my rice to cook and it all became very clear that this shouldn't be an issue I was dealing with to the point where I forgot it wasn't normal," she said.

Stoppelman subsequently responded to the controversy on Twitter, saying that he acknowledged the cost of living in San Francisco, where Yelp is based, is too high.

"I have been focused on this issue, backing anti-NIMBY group SFBARF and speaking out frequently about the need to lower cost of housing," he wrote, reported Business Insider. "I've not been personally involved in Talia being let go and it was not because she posted a Medium letter directed at me.

"Two sides to every HR story so Twitter army please put down the pitchforks. The reality of such a high Bay Area cost of living is entry level jobs migrate to where costs of living are lower."

Sources: Business Insider, Medium / Photo credit: Flickr

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