UR FIRED - is it okay to sack people via text message?

Recently a story of a young a shop assistant fired by text message attracted a good deal of media interest in the UK.

In response to the wide publicity, a director from the company who sacked the shop assistant - Blue Banana - defended the text sacking by saying: " We are a youth business and our staff are all part of the youth culture."

In this week's People Management we get to hear what the HR folks at the CIPD have to say about the matter.

In Let's talk about text James Brockett looks at the subject of text sackings by asking the following question - "Will this impersonal method of communication soon become an acceptable way of doing business?"

The article looks at the matter from a numbers of angles, yet the conclusions seem to suggest that it will take a test case to determine if it is reasonable to sack someone via text message.

The general advice is not to sack employees in this fashion as it is likely to be seen as unlawful, in terms of fairness and showing respect.

The matter has also created a bit of a stir on one of the CIPD's discussion boards - the discussion thread can be found here.


Joe Stakhanov said...

All of us these days work under a "Judas Clause" in our employment contracts.

Fifty years ago we had jobs for life.
Twenty years ago the Anglo-Saxon world went over to the "New Psychological Contract". Firms no longer offered jobs for life, but promised to help workers stay employable for life.

Now, the employment relationship is becoming entirely transactional. Under the "Judas Clause" employees and employers will shaft one another to the extent which they can get away with.

Text sacking is cultural proof of the Judas Clause; not a management failure.

Joe Stakhanov

Anonymous said...


Not saying it's right, but if i give someone a dismissal letter on a piece of paper , would that be out of order?

how about , on a stone tablet?
as we move into the future , so do the systems for comunication.
from a 'personal' point of vie , it is piss poor
but from a legal point of view , the employee was notified formally and in writing.
Which means it will probably catch on.

James said...

Thanks for the comments!

I agree there is no good way of sacking people, but I do believe there are ways and means by which the situation can be dealt with a more responsible way.

Okay, young people use text messaging a lot, but it shouldn't be assumed that because most young use text messaging that they'd all be content with this method.