Firing someone by SMS message is not illegal.
Sending an SMS for work related situations may be the most appropriate method in certain circumstances.
But what do we think of a company who actually severs the relationship with their employees in this way?
It’s my view that any relationship break up dealt with sensitively, can minimise the subsequent aftermath. The last thing any employer would want is for the manner in which the break up has occurred to overshadow the reasons for the break up itself.
Every action sends a message, and being fired by text exposes employers to increased emotional responses from former employees, and shines a bright light on how people can expect to be treated if and when the time comes that their employer deems them surplus to requirements.
There are ways to end an employment relationship that can minimise the effects that it can have on individuals.
Firstly and most importantly, ensure that you comply with the terms of the employment arrangement.
Disputes arise when parties to an arrangement do not do what they agreed. Whilst this seems obvious, sticking to the terms of an agreement that you have entered into including termination and redundancy provisions not only demonstrates integrity, but it will minimise your exposure to potentially expensive unfair dismissal claims.
Secondly, conduct a fair process.
If you do not have written processes for particular circumstances, check out resources such as the Fair Work Ombudsman, which has basic information that can assist. Following a fair process will set transparent parameters and demonstrate consistency.
And thirdly, consider the legacy you want to leave.
While technology certainly has its place in business, and increasingly in the HR space, I would suggest that it shouldn’t replace the human being when it comes to delivering what will invariably be bad news.
Whilst it may be easier on the employer to utilise technology to deliver the ‘it’s over’ message, consider how you would want to be treated in similar circumstances.