Headlines were made last month when Secretary of State Rex Tillerson found
out he was fired from his post by President Trump
via Twitter. In addition to Tillerson, White House chief of staff Reince Priebus was
also fired by the President through Twitter.
However, informally firing an employee through text message, email, or
tweet is a practice that many employers have been using recently. Take
Autumn Weese, an employee at a coffee shop who was informally fired after
she asked to cut back her hours to pursue a master's degree. White
received an email from her employer saying that they “totally understood
However, her coworker’s began telling her that they were sorry she
would be leaving the company in two weeks. Unfortunately for Weese, not
only did everyone know about her leaving before she did, but her employer
also told her coworkers that she quit by choice and wasn’t fired.
For weeks, Weese emailed her employers but never got a response.
Is It Common, or Illegal to Be Fired Through a Tweet?
According to Dan Ryan, principal of Ryan Search and Consulting, there is
no excuse for disrespecting employees in such a way when they are fired.
"Especially now, if you're leading an organization, you don't
need any negatives out there about how you treat people." Ryan points
out that recruitment of new employees can be difficult once word of informal
or disrespectful firing practices gets out.
Besides ruing an employer’s reputation, a botched firing can also
take a toll on the morale of existing staff. Furthermore, employers who
fail to follow the proper firing process can also make themselves vulnerable
for claims of
Tracie Sponenberg, senior vice president of human resources at The Granite
Group and an expert with the Society for Human Resource Management, says
“there's every reason in the world not to fire someone on Twitter.”
Because nothing is private these days, “oftentimes, everyone knows
[you’ve been fired] before you get a chance to even talk about it."
While many say that social media is to blame for the decline in workplace
civility, publicly humiliating terminations are not a new thing. Some
bosses have used loud speakers to read off the names of employees who
are fired, while others have told employees to take a vacation, only to
fire them while they are away.
It is important to remember that employees have many different legal rights
and are entitled to be terminated from their jobs in a respectful manner.
If your employer has fired you through Twitter or other humiliating means,
you should immediately consult with a lawyer.
At Marder Employment Law, we are committed to helping workers obtain the
justice they deserve. Our legal team can review your case and determine
a legal strategy that fits your needs. Let us help you today.
Contact our Hollister employment law attorney
to schedule your free consultation.