When you can’t force your employees to starve for your company, the next-best thing is to leave them jobless, apparently.
On Friday night, Talia Jane, a employee at the customer support section of Yelp and the delivery site Eat24, published an essay on Medium explaining how little she was paid, and how she couldn’t afford to buy groceries or heat her apartment on her $8.15 an hour salary.
The essay was addressed to Jeremy Stoppelman, Yelp’s co-founder and CEO:
I just got a text from T-Mobile telling me my bill is due. I got paid yesterday ($733.24, bi-weekly) but I have to save as much of that as possible to pay my rent ($1245) for my apartment that’s 30 miles away from work because it was the cheapest place I could find that had access to the train, which costs me $5.65 one way to get to work. That’s $11.30 a day, by the way. I make $8.15 an hour after taxes. I also have to pay my gas and electric bill. Last month it was $120. According to the infograph on PG&E’s website, that cost was because I used my heater. I’ve since stopped using my heater. Have you ever slept fully clothed under several blankets just so you don’t get a cold and have to miss work?
Shortly after posting the piece, Jane’s corporate email account was disabled. She soon found out she’d been fired.
google says my work email address doesn't exist, which means i have officially been fired from Yelp/Eat24 for writing this.— Lady Murderface (@itsa_talia) February 20, 2016
Jane recounted her firing in a message to Gawker:
“I found out before my manager did. About two hours after I posted the letter, my phone vibrated but didn’t have a notification—my mailbox does this sometimes, I don’t know why, so I checked my inbox for all my linked email accounts...That’s when I knew, because they terminate all your access to the system before you come into work. So I called my manager and told him I got fired. He didn’t know what I was talking about and said he’d call me back after he looked into it. He called me back a few minutes later and told me someone from HR was there with him.”
Stoppelman did address the essay on Twitter Saturday, asking the “Twitter army” to “put down your pitchforks.”
1/5 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.— Jeremy Stoppelman (@jeremys) February 20, 2016
5/5 entry level jobs migrate to where costs of living are lower. Have already announced we are growing EAT24 support in AZ for this reason.— Jeremy Stoppelman (@jeremys) February 20, 2016
Interestingly enough, while Stoppelman found the time to bemoan the high cost of living in San Francisco, he didn’t touch upon the fact that his company won’t pay its employees enough to live there.