Let’s be honest: For many people, texting has replaced calling. They barely ever use their phones to talk, like traditional phones, but far more often use them to send and receive quick messages. They may do this through standard messaging apps or through third-party apps like Facebook Messenger.
But, as an employer, how heavily should you lean into this new technology. Say you want to fire an employee, but they’re not even at work when you decide to do it. Should you just text them?
Firing someone by text is legal under many conditions
If your employee works for you on an at-will basis, there is nothing stopping you from sending that text message. It is legal. You could also send them an email or give them a call. The only way you can’t do this is if the employee has a contract prohibiting it or if your company policies say that employees will always be fired in person.
Is it wise to fire someone by text, however? That’s another question entirely. An employee who gets fired via text may be more likely to view that firing as unfair and unexpected. They may feel slighted and insulted. Does this increase the odds of a dispute? You could make the process far longer and harder than it has to be.
You also risk some sort of miscommunication. Maybe they think it’s a joke. Maybe the text doesn’t even go through, but you think it does, and they show up for their next shift. Things can get uncomfortable, even if they’re legal.
During a dispute with an employee, take steps to protect your business
No matter how you fire an employee, though, there is a chance it sparks a dispute. If this happens, you need to know what legal options you have. Employment issues can get tricky, so make sure that you take all the necessary action to protect your business, your brand and your future.