Domino’s Pizza employee sacked by text message

A teenager from Accrington was fired from her job in a takeaway by text. Is this illegal?

18 January 2018

Young couple in cafe - woman on phone

Sixteen year old Caitlin McConnell was shocked and outraged when she learned, along with around five other co-workers, that her services were no longer required at Domino’s by a text from her manager.

The text read: “Thank you so much for your energy and helping open the new store we really appreciate your efforts but I’m afraid to inform you that we cannot accommodate you any longer and wish you the best for the future. Thank you, domino’s management team.”

What was the reasoning behind the method?

After asking why she was being let go, Caitlin was told that there was too many staff and that her boss cannot “babysit” her through her shift.

After complaining that she had been given no notice she received a shocking text that read: “Lol you’re trying to sound clever.”

It is unquestionable that Domino’s could have handled letting McConnell go a lot better than they did, with unprofessional text responses including: “That’s life you win some you lose some.” But is what they did unlawful?

How could the law protect you from such circumstances?

If you get fired via a text message you should check the terms of your contract. Many employment contracts specify that notice should be given in writing – often specifically in hard copy or by post or email.

If you have not been given the correct period of notice (often one week if you are a probationary employee), you should be paid in lieu of it or you could have a breach of contract claim against your employer.

For employees with two or more years’ service, if you were to be dismissed by a text out of the blue without any process you are likely to have a claim for unfair dismissal. Even if you do not have two years’ service, an employer can risk other types of claims if it does not follow any kind of process for the termination:

  • If the reason for your dismissal relates to your gender, race, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation or gender reassignment then you may have a claim for discrimination;
  • If you’ve been dismissed suddenly because you have raised concerns with your employer about breaches of health and safety or other legal obligations you may have a whistleblowing claim.

Caitlin McConnell had only been working for Domino’s for two months before she was given her marching orders. The Domino’s customer service team reportedly looked into the case.

The employment solicitors at Slater and Gordon Lawyers have been involved in many high-value dismissal cases and have experience in securing compensation for our clients. You can call our expert team on freephone 0330 041 5869 or contact us and we’ll reach out to you.

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