To Text or NOT to Text

Text messaging is great, I love it… most of the time; but I’ve noticed some disturbing trends. Not only is texting and chat eroding communication ability, in the workplace I’ve heard more stories of people being fired simply by receiving a text message.

As both a communications expert, trainer and a lawyer this presents considerable problems.

Younger people who have grown up knowing nothing but text often say they feel uncomfortable with the ‘confrontation’ of a telephone call and prefer to text. They say they can express themselves more in text and chat and than they often do! I’ve seen several teenagers I’ve tutored about communication display sheer panic at the idea of making a phone call.

As these people enter the workplace they may often fail to adapt to the requirements and believe me if you are an employer you will need to tell them it is not acceptable to simply text in that they are sick, or that they’d would like holidays. Some may know of course but many will not see the problem.  You may want to make sure you have that covered in your employment contract and new staff induction sessions.

Case Summary[1] -

In a case decided in May 2013, by Deputy President Sams of the Fair Work Commission, it was the employer though who sent the following text message to a worker who had worked for them for 19 years.

I am no longer contracting to MCT as of today, therefore your services are not required with immediate effect. Regards Alex.

Deputy President Sams said “it is difficult to imagine a more grossly unfair dismissal of an employee”. The case came about after the father was declared bankrupt and the father and son sought to make an arrangement that would circumvent the son being responsible for any of the fathers’ liabilities. The worker had not done anything wrong and yet no one even spoke to her about the situation they were in. Deputy President Sams “fortunately for the applicant, the labour laws of Australia will not allow her to be left in a never-never world where no one is responsible for the appallingly unfair treatment she experienced by her dismissal.”

There was no reason communicated to her for her dismissal and no notice or warning of the dismissal. The dismissal in this case was said to lack fairness substantially in that she had done nothing wrong and procedurally.

Good Communication has been proven to increase productivity in the workplace.

In workplaces where people use good communication skills people feel valued and respected. So if you do find yourself wondering whether it’s appropriate to communicate in a certain way the first question to consider is: How is that going to communicate to the other person? Does it show respect and that they are valued?

Poor communication is one of the biggest attributes to conflict at home and in the workplace, it can even lead to Court proceedings.

It is worth investing in yourself and others in order to improve your communications skills.

Check out our up coming communication courses ;

or contact Kayte@kaytenew.com directly to enquire about communication training at your workplace. It’s worth it!

And if you do find yourself needing advice about unfair dismissal, bullying, discrimination or any other employment law matter then visit me at Demir Legal.


[1] Ms Taisia Kaye v Mr Marco Fahd (First Respondent); Mr Alex Fahd (Second Respondent); More Ceramic Tiles Pty Ltd ABN 90 108 605 385 (Third Respondent); and Versatile Ceramics ABN 44 249 024 176 (Fourth Respondent) [MAY 2013]

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