Yelp increases wages after firing an employee who was critical about her low pay

Let them eat cake.
Let them eat cake.
Image: AP Photo/Richard Drew
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Yelp is raising the hourly pay of customer service reps at its Eat24 subsidiary two months after an employee wrote a critical open letter to the CEO about not being able to afford groceries.

Backchannel reports that Yelp sent an email to employees last week announcing that it was increasing hourly wages to $14 from $12.25. In addition, employees will receive 15 days of paid time off, up from five, and 11 paid holidays, a benefit they didn’t have previously.

In February, Talia Jane’s scathing public letter to CEO Jeremy Stoppelman about her bleak living conditions took the internet by storm. “I can’t afford to buy groceries,” she wrote. “Isn’t that ironic? Your employee for your food delivery app [Eat24] that you spent $300 million to buy can’t afford to buy food. That’s gotta be a little ironic, right?”

Within hours, she was fired, though Yelp’s maintained it wasn’t because of her blog post. Since then, Jane has been called everything from an entitled millennial to a champion of the living wage.

Though the email Yelp circulated to employees didn’t mention Jane by name, the head of customer support who wrote it said “many of these changes have been in planning since Q4 2015,” according to Backchannel. ”I think my letter acted as a catalyst to enact the changes more immediately, especially since I hadn’t heard any of this while I was there,” Jane tells Quartz.

Jane adds that she’s happy for her former coworkers. “It was an immediate ‘This is so great for them, I’m so happy for them,’ and then I folded my letter into the mix and laughed out a ‘You’re welcome, I guess?’ “

Yelp declined to comment on the wage increase.