Florida Manager Terminates 13 Workers via Group Text

By Ephrat Livni, Esq. on November 24, 2015 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

A Florida restaurant manager took communication to a new low when he fired 13 employees at once via text last week. "[W]e have decided to move on without you. We appreciate the opportunity to work with you and all of your hard work," the text stated, according to United Press International.

The servers from Lilly's on the Lake in Clermont, Florida were shocked when they got the text last Friday. They told reporters that they expected an individual discussion and an explanation of the terminations. But from a legal standpoint, management needed no reason to fire them.

The Manager's Perspective

Brad Barrett is the new general manager at the Florida restaurant, charged with improving its reputation after some bad online reviews claiming poor service. But this move -- firing the workers by text, which Barrett said was calculated to prevent a fuss -- ended up drawing negative national attention to the business.

The new general manager defended the technological terminations, saying previous in-person terminations led to a scene. He added that "employees get fired from restaurants all the time."

Explaining himself to workers, Barrett wrote in the text, "Unfortunately we were unable to call and speak with each one of you individually but we hope you all understand the decision we have made. We wish you the best of luck in the future. The Management Team."

A Server Speaks

"I was torn up, I have rent to pay, I have 2 kids to take care of," one of the fired servers, Elizabeth Peters, told reporters. "I think it's wrong. It's unprofessional. If someone's going to fire you they need to call you in and let you know what you did wrong. I don't even know what I did wrong."

But Peters did not need to do anything wrong for Barrett to fire her. And while tactless, the termination by text was not technically wrong, either.

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