Radio Shack's New Commitment To The Internet Includes Firing People Via Email

from the seems-a-bit-harsh dept

In the last few years, there have been a bunch of stories, usually out of the UK, of companies firing people via text message. Text messaging just isn't as popular in the US yet, so it seems that Radio Shack decided to go in a different direction and fire 400 people via email. The company is defending the decision by saying that employees had been told that they would be notified electronically, so they don't see what all the fuss is about. I guess that beats the excuse another company used recently, that being fired electronically was just a part of youth culture. Of course, over in the UK, some of the people who were fired by text message later won additional compensation for being cynically manipulated. Speaking of which, if being cynically manipulated deserves extra compensation, I'm sure there are plenty of people who are probably owed a lot of extra cash.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    eric, Aug 30th, 2006 @ 12:25pm

    spam

    And what if your spam filter catches it? Mine catches a lot of corporate spam.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Dam, Aug 30th, 2006 @ 12:26pm

    Like the products they sell...

    Radio Shack management is inferior quality. To not deliver the message of termination in person is cowardly, sleazy and just plain chicken-sh*t.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    eric, Aug 30th, 2006 @ 12:27pm

    hey

    With only my comment listed...there was an add for the Sexiest Man on Ebay or somesuch...beat that!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    oohhhgezzz, Aug 30th, 2006 @ 12:30pm

    Intersting

    Well if I was termiated va e-mail not only would I be getting unemployment I sew them for disregard and it would be degrading me as a person.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Q, Aug 30th, 2006 @ 12:38pm

    Text messaging not as popular in the US?

    Are you sure about this? I'm sure high school kids would beg to differ.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Kilroy, Aug 30th, 2006 @ 12:38pm

    Being fired via email can be better than in person because words can be chosen carefully and deliberately.

    In our politically correct business world, the employer doesn't want any more headache from an already burdensome employee than absolutely necessary. Firing via email gives a chance for both parties to have a written account of the termination and leaves less room for "heat of the moment" exchanges between employer and employee.

    As long as it is clear that one has been terminated and that he/she gets the email in a timely fashion, I don't see why this is a big deal.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    THocas, Aug 30th, 2006 @ 12:47pm

    well

    I think for that same reason I can't get hired by text message or email, I shouldn't be fire by it. It just seems disrespectful. Its the "say it to my face" mentality for me.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Aug 30th, 2006 @ 12:52pm

    Re: Text messaging not as popular in the US?

    Are you sure about this? I'm sure high school kids would beg to differ.

    From the the news yesterday:

    "About 40 per cent of the more than 200m mobile phone subscribers in the US now use text messaging, up from 25 per cent in 2003 but still far behind the 60 per cent plus penetration rates in Europe."

    So, yup. I'm sure that text messaging is not as popular in the US.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Brian, Aug 30th, 2006 @ 12:53pm

    waaaa

    It saves Money and Time; what's the big deal. I read all the time on Tech Dirt how people want the corporate world to enbrace and support the use technology, but now when they do everyone still complains. Is anyone ever happy?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 30th, 2006 @ 12:54pm

    Security Escort

    Its been years since I've worked in a place that didn't require a security escort when someone got fired.

    I can only imagine the poor security guys face when he gets the email with 30 people listed and he's got to run to escort all 30 of them in 2 minutes.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Marty, Aug 30th, 2006 @ 12:55pm

    Easy to abuse

    What about fake firings? If you wanted to mess with someone, send them a e-mail, saying there fired, then watch them come to work puzzled or, not even come back to work, if they believe it!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Brock, Aug 30th, 2006 @ 12:56pm

    Radio Shack managment are nincompoops whose ability to stay alive continually astounds me. They must never visit the field, so possibly they didn't know where the stores are to fire the poor saps.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Shinanigans, Aug 30th, 2006 @ 1:05pm

    Committment, . . .

    Wow! Firing via email, . . . now there's one I hadn't thought of. You're right, its got it's down side, but really, . . . what about my feelings? I don't have to be concerned about how to handle a certain reaction, or retaliation, or. . . anything! Fantastic! I can sit in front of the television watching family demoralizing - and parent bashing programs from which to glean my email-firing comments and be as cute and insensative as I want to be about it!

    Now, if I can just figure out how to get the background applaud and laughter to queue up on the email while the reader is reading it?!!!

    GET BACK TO WORK!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Tyshaun, Aug 30th, 2006 @ 1:06pm

    Re: waaaa

    It saves Money and Time; what's the big deal. I read all the time on Tech Dirt how people want the corporate world to enbrace and support the use technology, but now when they do everyone still complains. Is anyone ever happy?
    I agree with you that techDirt is an advocate for increased use of technology, but sometimes I think that's not a good thing. I remember in Engineering School that the first thing they taught us in intro-to-engineering is "Engineering is the application of scientific principles in order to develop practical uses of scientific advancement for the benefit of mankind". To me, technology is a tool that is supposed to enrich our lives, not an object to be hidden behind when dealing with the human element is too inconvienent.

    Yes, it is definately more efficient to fire people by e-mail, but is it more humane? Peoples jobs are more than a source of income they are part of their identity, a culmination of years of schooling and work in some cases. To have a simple e-mail sent without at least the courtesy of a face-to-face meeting seems a bit too dehumanizing to me.

    Let's use technology for what it should be, the applied use of science to help humans progress. Firing people by e-mail, to me, is in no way progressive, just cowardly.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Aaron, Aug 30th, 2006 @ 1:06pm

    Another good example of why Radio Shack just doesn't seem to get it...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 30th, 2006 @ 1:08pm

    to #10

    i see that being a big problem. or get a guy who was fired, and then send it back to the manager...or any number of ppl who pissed him off. that's not cool.

    maybe add some type of web link, where you click and then enter your employee password or something, and then it'll tell you if you can sleep in the next few days...

    however, as mentioned earlier...it seems un professional to fire someone from email, yet to still requrie business interviews. kind of a double standard.

    myself, if got my email at 8am saying i was done...i'd spend all day just goofing off. then go on a sexual harassment rampage. since i'm not "part of the company" i'll be good. when a civil suit was brought on...bam i'll sue the company for allowing me to say on the premisis after i was fired. had i not been there, i wouldn't been able do that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Neal, Aug 30th, 2006 @ 1:11pm

    Firing practices

    Firing practices should be similar to hiring practices. The firee should be called in to interview with at least as many individuals as interviewed him, and they should spend as much time as in the hiring process, only he should dictate the direction of the process. If he needs to grill the others about his shortcomings in order to improve himself, then he can. If he needs to grill them about their idiotic policies, lack of understanding of the business, or their shortcomings then he can.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Someone, Aug 30th, 2006 @ 1:13pm

    Re: Security Escort

    They probably fired the security escort too.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 30th, 2006 @ 1:14pm

    So what?

    The company downsized, the people weren't fired for incompetence or similar. I think if they were fired becuase they screwed up, were caught stealing, something of that nature, then you might have a story. A company trimming fat via email though? BFD. Go out and get another job, stop whining about the method.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Aug 30th, 2006 @ 1:47pm

    Re: waaaa

    It saves Money and Time; what's the big deal. I read all the time on Tech Dirt how people want the corporate world to enbrace and support the use technology, but now when they do everyone still complains. Is anyone ever happy?

    Heh. We don't support the embrace of tech for no good reason. In this case, it seems like a use of technology that could do a lot more long term harm than good.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    carl, Aug 30th, 2006 @ 2:08pm

    Re: Text messaging not as popular in the US?

    Yes, and these are the same kids who are going to be working and getting fired by text and not care.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Yo ho ho..., Aug 30th, 2006 @ 2:46pm

    I wouldn't mind it... If...

    ... my deal was the same as those fired by email. Read the article -- the employees got anywhere from 4 months to as much as 9 months severence payments.

    If anybody offers me that much to go away, they can fire me by stapling a note on my ass and I'll be okay with that!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 30th, 2006 @ 3:27pm

    TEXT MESSAGING KILLED MY UNCLE!!!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Steve, Aug 30th, 2006 @ 5:33pm

    Re: Like the products they sell...

    I remember back when they fired some employees by faxing their termination papers to the store.
    S.S.D.D.


    The employees should consider themselves lucky, maybe they can find a company to work for that's not going down the tubes...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Ed Woychowsky, Aug 31st, 2006 @ 4:22am

    What's to stop...

    What’s to stop a disgruntled employee with the corporate e-mail directory from writing a script to send “You’re fired” e-mails to everybody in the company? It would be interesting to see how management sorts it out, but then if everybody was fired who would sort it out?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Sanguine Dream, Aug 31st, 2006 @ 5:58am

    Plain and simple

    Firing by email (or by any matter that isn't face to face) is cowardly. This is just another way for the faceless corporations to hide in there offices and pass the buck of resposibility on so they don't have to do it. I've been fired by email (and this was back in 2001) and after getting it I just went up to the pansy and confronted him on why? Yes we didn't like each other at all and had done some things that allowed him to fire me with good reason. But good reason or not firing by email is a sign of a pussy ass coward!!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Michael Krigsman, Aug 31st, 2006 @ 7:58am

    Incredible

    Sure, take the easy way out.

    Michael Krigsman
    http://projectfailures.com

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Brian, Aug 31st, 2006 @ 9:24am

    Just another step back

    Its just another way RadioShack shows how messed up of a copmpay it realy is. With each step RadioShack takes in its "turnaround" plan it seams they take a step further back. They try to compete with the "big box" companies but fail to realize they are not able to compete with them because of their small store format. When RadioShack realizes it cant beat them and trys to just be what it was in the 90's, a great place to go for answers from knowledgable sales associates and cool gadgets, maybe they will one day become great agian.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    ron ridgeway, Aug 31st, 2006 @ 1:02pm

    Radio shacks in the sewer lately

    They are no longer the company that made them successful. They are more a Best Buy than the electronics supply store they used to be. Ham operators have abandoned them in droves. New Radio Shack slogan: You got questions? We got cellphones.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Ivan Bezukoff, Aug 31st, 2006 @ 2:11pm

    Radio Shack email

    For some of us a few years ago your company was your home away from home. You were loyal and put in that extra mile. Today if it's not to late to grow up; and realize your work place is just a place of work, period. You never leave anything there that you might have to go back and get. Bring the required equipment you have to use to get the job done and then take it home at the end of the day. If the company insists you use certain tools then they should provide them. If they get paranoid about you leaving with your pack; insist that they examine it throughly, and then start looking for a new job that night.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    robert marbach, Aug 31st, 2006 @ 5:01pm

    firing of emplyees by email

    I think it was in real bad tatse. I,ve been a customer of yours for over 30 years, bot I won,t cross your threshold again, An irrate former customer

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    inhuman resources dept, Aug 31st, 2006 @ 5:01pm

    Re:

    Yeah, that's a good pseudo argument for using distance to avoid acting responsibly, and couching it all in positive-speak. You'll do well in the PR dept somewhere.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    sandy, Aug 31st, 2006 @ 5:46pm

    Re: firing of emplyees by email

    Send that comment to them, like I did.................... rscwebmaster@radioshackcorporate.com

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    Brian, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 6:43am

    re: Waaaaa

    I still don't feel that getting fired by e-mail is any more demoralizing than getting fired in person...at least not to me. I've never been fired, so maybe I just don't get it. But I could see how sitting there getting fired face to face in front of the peers I have worked with for years and years could be WAY more demoralizing than getting a simple e-mail where I could just collect my things and go home without having to look into the eyes my HR manager that would have that look of fake care on their face. In fact, maybe they are doing me a favor by helping my self esteem...? Bottom line is getting fired would suck in most scenarios no matter if by text, e-mail, fax, telegram, or tap on the shoulder on a Friday afternoon.

    Now, like that person said above - get back to work [before you get fired]!!!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 12:09pm

    Re: Easy to abuse

    Learn to spell "they're", or you'll be fired!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2006 @ 12:14pm

    Re: Re: Like the products they sell...

    I agree that Radio Shack is probably going down the tubes. I left RS as a store manager 4 years ago. I miss a lot about the job and the people, but I don;'t being downrated from not selling enough phone cases and CLA's with the phones. Never mind the fact that we would get say, 12 new phones, and 3 cases and 3 CLA's. Pretty hard to accessorize a sale that way. I even did exception ordering in order to get the needed accessories. That didn't work. You can't sell from an empty cart, folks!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    Sherah, Sep 5th, 2006 @ 11:55am

    Re:

    No one from the stores was fired. It was all corporate level. Basically, if you didn't work for a store, or support the stores directly you lost your job. I whole-heartedly agree, why pay someone an astronomical amount of money, when their job doesn't relate to the running of the business?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 5th, 2006 @ 3:31pm

    Re: Intersting

    It's SUE not SEW - That means you are making something out of cloth!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    RiK the ruler, Nov 20th, 2006 @ 6:19pm

    misspellings

    you goofs who worry about spelling in these forums have wayyyy to much time on your hands.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    radioshack employee, May 15th, 2007 @ 12:38pm

    WHY?

    Why does RadioShack get doged on so much? RadioShack layes off 200 employees. So!!!. Everyone of the employees got huge severance packages. I don't know of any large company in the world that hasn't fired anyone by email before. But RadioShack is the only one that hits the news for it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    es58, Jul 11th, 2007 @ 6:58am

    fired by e-mail

    Being fired is bad enough. But just thinking of having not read your e-mail for a day, (or more), having put in a full work day (or more) and then reading your e-mail to discover you've already been fired. Wouldn't like that much.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    identicon
    mary Zimmerman, May 9th, 2009 @ 7:45pm

    radio shack sucks as a employer

    My son worked at radio shack for 1 1/2 years. He took training for assistant manager, and was moved to a different store, and brought that store up to number 2 in the colorado (aurora area). He was fired because he used a $7.00 radio shack gift card that was given to him by a friend. Another employee was fired cause he didn't sell enough cell phones. That guy was there 14 years. Sounds to me like this district manager, was scared of loosing his job, cause my son and his friend could sell, and it made the district manager look bad! Radio Shack uses fear of firing , as a way to get employees going, if they would just use reward instead, they would be a better company. I bet their unemployment rate is low, well good for them, I hope they sink in this economy. Sounds like they are because of flimsley excuses, they use to get rid of good employees! Radio Shack is not a decent business to deal with!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    Mary Mitzan, Jun 29th, 2009 @ 8:49am

    Buying an adaptor for a CD Player

    I Purchased a CD player 5/30/09. I paid $42.79. I had to order an adaptor for the car. That was done. To be notified by phone on Friday 6/5/09. Notification never happened !! I drove back 12 Miles to check and there it was on the back shelf. I got that & A plug in for electric And paid about %52.00. Then I needed the adaptor!!!(for both). The kid that waited on me jumped from me to another customer that was being taken care of by the other woman clerk.This happened the first time I went in also, But I ignored it, I was in the store for 49 minutes. While he jerked around checking the connector tips. Completely loosing his train of thought,of which by this time, I realized he had none. The other clerk was completely aware of this situation.Did not speak or tell him anything. By the way, when I left after buying the car & House adaptor, he told me I had to bring the CD and adaptors back to be matched up. Now this has been my third trip. 72 miles. Then we played the above game. I eventually, before loosing my temper,Put it all back in my bag and left, I was not alone. My friend was mezermised by this employees performance. I found one of my reciepts. Can't find the other. I am going back for a refund of everything. We'll see what happens next. I will then go to Walmart and get what I want, I have always used Radio Shack all my life. Had little or no problem. I am 65 years old. I will drive the 24 miles to correct this problem. Fair Warning. The store is Santa Fe Electronics, Inc.168 S, Lawrence Blvd,Keystone, Fl.32656 ID#74897339,net ID:518 Retrieval Ref:915814201754,Trace audit:201754,settle date:0531. I paid with a debit card through Capital City Bank. Hopefully you will look into this matter. Mary Mitzan 8713 SE County Road 325,Hampton, Fl.32044

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    identicon
    Fernando, Nov 16th, 2009 @ 7:44pm

    Re: What a hell are you talking?

    If you work for a respetable company they will let you know that you are not going to be needed no more on person, a profesional manager will not let the "heat of the moment" get on him/her and will control the situation so the other part act on th same way...

    Now if you work on a place with a team that is not trained and up to the position, they will do that, because they dont have the skills to handle the situation so take 45 minutes to write a couple of lines are as much as they can do... or you work on a company that dont care for the people that work there and they will not pay some one to do the job.

    I was fired from Nextel by emal, and I think it's the most unpersonal and unprofesional way to act, haha... they dont even say what was happening, the email say something like there was a meething on the room 502, and when I walk in there was a group of maybe 50 people waiting, then some one that I never see before just ask us to take a sit, and pum!! she just say "we are going to give you some envelops, put your key and name tag there and on a couple of days we will send by postal mail your personal items from your workstation, thanks and have a great day..."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This