Thursday, March 26, 2015

$380 million tech firm promises not to add jobs in Arkansas because of discriminatory legislation

Posted By on Thu, Mar 26, 2015 at 10:13 PM

click to enlarge Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppleman - @KMERON VIA CREATIVE COMMONS
  • @Kmeron via Creative Commons
  • Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppleman

In an open letter to "States Considering Imposing Discrimination Laws," the CEO of the recommendations service Yelp pledged to avoid adding or maintaining jobs in states that impose measures like Rep. Bob Ballinger's bill to allow discrimination on "religious" grounds. Yelp has annual revenues of $380 million and a market cap of $3.4 billion.

Earlier today, just after Gov. Asa Hutchinson introduced the state's new economic development chief, the Human Rights Campaign announced its plans to run an ad in Silicon Valley's largest newspaper announcing that Arkansas is closed for business because of discrimination

Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman said such laws "set a terrible precedent that will likely harm the broader economic health of the states where they have been adopted, the businesses currently operating in those states and, most importantly, the consumers who could be victimized under these laws."

... [I]t is unconscionable to imagine that Yelp would create, maintain, or expand a significant business presence in any state that encouraged discrimination by businesses against our employees, or consumers at large. I encourage states that are considering passing laws like the one rejected by Arizona or adopted by Indiana to reconsider and abandon these discriminatory actions. (We’re looking at you, Arkansas.)

I hope that in the future the legislatures in the nineteen states that have these laws on the books will reconsider their actions. In the mean time, Yelp will make every effort to expand its corporate presence only in states that do not have these laws allowing for discrimination on the books.

I also hope that other companies will draw a similar line in the sand for equality on behalf of their employees and the greater public to persuade legislators to do the right thing and stop or rescind these harmful laws.

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