Workers in Florida were fired by text message on the Fourth of July, leaving them without pay and without notice. Barducci’s Italian Restaurant in Winter Park, Florida was closed suddenly before the holiday by owner Gregory Kennedy, who reportedly texted the bad news to employees rather than meeting them at work.
One of the restaurant workers, Jodi Jackson, talked to local station WFTV about being fired by text message. “I think it’s immoral. I think it’s cowardice,” she said.
She showed them a text from Kennedy saying that the restaurant was closed effective immediately and that he was still working on cutting the final paychecks. A week later, when Jackson talked to WFTV, the workers still hadn’t been paid.
Kennedy told the station by — you guessed it — text message that he was still working on it.
The text message firing has now attracted some national debate, with MSN calling the technique rude and Gregory Kennedy “etiquette-impaired.”
They thought he should have told the workers in person, but I’m not so sure about that unless he had some checks to hand out. You want to drive over to find out you got the axe, and you’re not even getting paid that day?
If you’ve worked at a restaurant for any length of time, you’ve probably been there, done that — and I don’t think that’s any fun either.
The restaurant business is a brutal and competitive one. And it isn’t prettier in the overheated Deep South summer off-season. Here’s a different example.
On the Friday before the Fourth of July, restaurant workers showed up at historic Brennan’s in the New Orleans, Louisiana French Quarter to be met by sheriff’s deputies. That’s how they learned that the restaurant had been closed and they were out of a job.
But they were luckier than their counterparts in Florida, since they were also handed their final paychecks, according to a report by local news station WDSU.
However, if the restaurant had actually gone broke and couldn’t pay, maybe a text message to save everybody time, hassle, and a confrontation with deputies might have been just as well.
Apparently, a lot of business have indeed started to go the “fired by text message” route. Here are just a few Tweets from recent months:
I just got fired over text message so that's a thing now…
— Ian Thomson (@TheIanThomson) July 11, 2013
K my boss just fired me over text message on Easter. Wtf
— Zo? (@Zeeelovely) March 31, 2013
An investigation of corporate America found that thousands of workers each year are fired via a text message!
— FactsAboutTheWealthy (@WealthyFacts) March 23, 2013
Being dumped or fired by text message is the ultimate cowardice. Have the respect to do it face-to-face. #TESHsays
— John Tesh (@JohnTesh) June 6, 2012
What do you think? Is it ever OK to fire by text message?