Getting fired is never a nice experience. But there are better and worse ways to receive the news. This is probably one of the worst: via a text message. That's how a Winter Park, Fla. restaurant owner named Gregory Kennedy delivered the bad news to his entire staff when he abruptly shut down his bistro, Barducci's, according to a report by local television station WFTV.
Jodi, I unfortunately need to inform you that I have been forced to close Barducci's effective immediately.
Update 7/12/2013 4:47PM (The rest of the text read: Despite my efforts there were circumstances that I was not able to address. I wish you all the best and sincerely thank you for everything you have done. Any final payroll checks will be addressed after the accounting has been finalized.
Jackson had worked almost two years at the restaurant and got her termination message on July 4th. Call it an ironic form of independence celebration. "I think it's immoral," she told WFTV. "I think it's cowardice." Jackson alleges that her final paycheck still has not arrived and thinks that the other employees are also waiting on theirs.
Sometimes employers deliver bad news via email or text so as to avoid an emotional confrontation. It's not clear why Kennedy did, however. AOL Jobs tried to reach Kennedy through the restaurant Facebook page but has not heard back. When WFTV contacted Kennedy, he responded to them via a text message, too. It read:
Unfortunately, businesses are forced to close across Orlando every day, especially in the restaurant sector. I am working to resolve issues including final paychecks as quickly as possible.
Being fired by a text message, sadly, is nothing new. In 2010, 900 truck drivers like Randy Dakin were left stranded on the road when Oklahoma-based Arrow Trucking Company reportedly shut down, cancelling fuel credit cards. The next day, the drivers got two text messages: one telling them they were fired and the second offering a bus ticket or $200 in cash to get home. Last September, Demos' restaurant in Florence, Ala. allegedly closed, texting nearly 65 employees not to show up for work. The owner reportedly planned to give employees two-weeks severance pay in addition to their final paychecks.
Experts warn managers not to fire by text. Although it might be necessary for a boss to fire remote workers via video conferencing or phone, the Society for Human Resource Management says delivering such news via email or text is "impersonal" and makes employees feel "disrespected" and could "provoke the terminated employee into some negative emotional reaction." In fact, some employees have fought back.
In 2010, on the day after Christmas, Sedina Sokolovic was fired via text for allegedly swapping shifts without permission and for being late to work at Sydney, Australia clothing store Modestie Boutique. Sokolovic, who had worked for the company for two years, responded by complaining to Australian authorities, which, in turn, fined Modestie close to $11,000 in US currency. The reason? According to an Australian official, it was a "pretty appalling" method of firing someone.
Fla. Restaurant Owner Fires Workers En Masse By Text [UPDATE]
Firing long-serving employees over email is pretty cowardly and insensitive. But you probably lose an extra 5 trillion karma points if those long-serving employees are soldiers. Due to an alleged "administrative error" several dozen British soldiers, who had each served for over 20 years, including one fighting in Afghanistan, were told that their services, or rather their service, would not longer be required. The email advised the troops to "start planning your resettlement."
Prime Minister David Cameron felt that "the way this has been handled is completely unacceptable," according to a spokesman. Jim Murphy, shadow defense secretary for the opposition Labour Party had stronger words, calling it "callous, cold-hearted, souless."
When a partially nude pic of Miss California Carry Prejean surfaced, Donald Trump stood by her side. "We are in the 21st century. We have determined the pictures taken are fine" and in some cases "lovely," said at a press conference in May 2009. He also defended her answer to a pageant question about same-sex marriage (she's not into it).
Less than a month later, Prejean got a call. It was radio and TV host Billy Bush, and he was wondering whether she had a statement. You know, about her losing her crown and her dreams being dashed in a hugely public and humiliating fall from grace?
"It is so bizarre to me how this has turned out," Prejean told Fox News. "I just couldn't believe it. I was so shocked, I didn't know what to say."
Sarah Silverman was on "Saturday Night Live" for a year, but only one of her sketches actually made it to dress rehearsal, and none got on the air. She claims that she was notified of her dismissal by fax, which isn't very cool now, and still wasn't very cool in 1994. She parodied the experience on "The Larry Sanders Show," in which the chauvinist head writer blackballs her jokes because she's a lady.
Getting fired is a bummer. Getting fired for being tired all the time when you're pregnant is a bigger bummer. Being told that you have to give back your uniform shirts or pay $30 is pretty wounding. And then bumping into your bright-eyed replacement on the way out is like pouring five pounds of salt in that wound.
That's what happened to one woman in East Hartford, Conn., who worked at Bell Foods grocery store. As she writes on her blog, she immediately went to her car, grabbed the dirty work shirts, and threw them on her supervisor's desk. Unfortunately, her supervisor wasn't sitting there. She was giving the new girl a tour.
By the age of 21, Chris Colfer had two Emmy nominations and ranked among Time's 100 most influential people in the world last year for his groundbreaking portrayal of a struggling gay teen on the primetime series "Glee." So he was a little surprised when he discovered that the show had tweeted that next season would be his last on the show. "I don't necessarily want to leave so soon, but I mean, it's fine," he told Access Hollywood. "It's what it is. And all things come to an end."
The show's creator, Ryan Murphy, had a different story. They'd been in talks about it for a while, he said, given that Colfer's character was graduating from high school, and that they were planning a spin-off. Annoyed about Colfer's comments, Murphy said that they were scrapping the spin-off idea. Colfer will be back on the show next season, however, as a high school graduate somehow integrated into high school plotlines with the logic-suspending grace of a truly great sitcom.
Sixteen-year-old Chelsea Taylor weekend job at a cafe called Cookies after she lost a ten-pound note (about $16). She was fired by a manager in a Facebook message riddled with the textspeak abbreviations that might be appropriate for dishing about the cute boy next to you in math class, but a little less appropriate for cutting someone off from their source of income.
"Sorry to send u a message like this but bin tryin to ring u but gettin no joy," she wrote. "I had to tell the owner bout u losin that tenner coz obviously the till was down at the end of the day. she wan't very pleased at all and despite me trying to persuade her otherwise she said I have to let u go. I'm really sorry."
Taylor shrugged it off with a resilient "oki x," but her mom wasn't too pleased, and had a little talk with the Daily Mail.
Back in 2010, Karen Ogilvie, a bartender in Dundee, Scotland, slept in and missed the start of her evening shift. She'd worked 11 hours the day before, four of them spent alone, so she couldn't even go to the bathroom, she claimed. Later that evening, she got a text. Bye-bye. Ogilvie replied with a few texts asking for her job back, but got no reply.
But things turned out rosy for Ogilvie. In October 2010, she was awarded the sum of 14,355 pounds ($22,461) by an employment tribunal, which found that her dismissal was "procedurally and substantively unfair."