Can you fire an employee over the phone or text?

| Oct 27, 2020 | Business Law |

It’s not something you want to do, but there may come a point when you need to fire an employee. Should you find yourself face-to-face with this situation, it’s critical that you implement a plan of action.

There are many different ways to fire an employee, but doing so in person is the professional norm. It’s respectful to the other individual, while also benefiting you in a variety of ways:

  • You can more easily show your appreciation for the time they spent at the company
  • You can obtain their signature on key documents, on the spot
  • You can immediately supply them with any paperwork they need

However, firing an employee in person isn’t always doable. And for that reason, you need to consider other options such as a telephone call or text message.

Here are some of the reasons why you may need to take this approach: 

  • Your employee is remote: If you don’t see your employee in person, as they work remotely, you’ll have no choice but to fire them in another manner. Depending on the circumstances, you may want to have a video call so you can see one another. This is the closest you’ll get to an in person meeting.
  • The employee isn’t in the office when you learn you need to fire them: For example, your employee may be at home when you learn that they did something that requires you to terminate them. Rather than wait, you can contact them by phone to share the details and let them know of their termination.
  • The employee is nowhere to be found: It’s not out of a question for an employee to simply leave work and never come back. Some people don’t care to give their two weeks’ notice or inform their supervisor of their plans. Should this happen, you can contact the person by phone and/or text to let them know that they’re no longer employed.

It may not be the ideal situation, but there could come a time when you have to fire an employee over the phone or text. When doing so, be sure that you know what to say and your legal rights for terminating the person’s employment.