If employees could write a Yelp review about working at Yelp, it turns out the company might not make the ‘Top Rated’ page. One employee, Talia Jane, took her complaints to another website though, writing a scathing open letter to the company’s CEO on Medium, dissecting the ways in which she and her coworkers in the customer service department can’t afford groceries or rent, and must rely on the company cupboards for enough food to survive.
And how did Yelp respond? Subsidizing housing? Offering take-home food? Raising wages? Holding a meeting to discuss the issues? Nope, instead they just fired Talia and talked a lot about how cheap Phoenix, AZ is.
Talia worked in customer service for Eat24, Yelp’s food-ordering service, and claims that some of her coworkers were homeless, having been priced out of apartments with not enough income to bounce back:
Living in the Bay Area, Jane says that she spends 80% of her income on rent, subsists off of rice, and can barely pay the train fees or car tolls to even make it in to work.
Shortly after publishing her letter, Talia took to Twitter to alert those following her story that she had been fired, an action she says stemmed directly from her online critique.
Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman apparently saw Talia’s critiques, as he too jumped on Twitter to defend himself and put blame squarely on the rising price of rent in San Francisco;
Since Jeremy’s last tweet about growing support staff in Arizona, every single response the company has put out since has focused entirely on the increasing home prices in San Francisco and the fact that Eat24 staff will be growing in Phoenix. It released a statement to Re/Code that ignores most of Talia’s complaints and talks about high cost of living and moving to Phoenix. In another statement to Eater, the company said pretty much the same thing; rents too high, moving to Phoenix.
None of the company’s responses discuss its SF-based employees or their need for higher wages to match those skyrocketing rent prices. There’s no mention of the need for food on the weekend or helping with public transportation costs.
This isn’t the first time Yelp employees have been pissed off, either. Last July, delivery drivers sued the company for $5 million based on unpaid tips. Yelp didn’t end up paying, but instead passed the blame on to Sidecar, the contractors it worked with for food delivery.