Fired via "Email" Is This Even Legal?

Updated on December 27, 2011
K.K. asks from Fredericksburg, VA
17 answers

Hi Moms,

I got fired from my dance studio after 2 yrs....via "EMAIL". No warning, no nothing. Hit me blind in the face. Is this even legal to fire someone via email???????

I am willing to share my email that i got with any moms over private message.


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answers from St. Louis on

The method of termination is irrelevant. They could actually hire a skywriter or rent a billboard. I can't imagine anyone doing that mind you because it would make it kind of look like a hostile work environment or something and open them up to a lawsuit for that. The only thing is they must know you received the notice. That you don't come into work is proof of receipt.

There is no upside in coming in mind you, then they will just fire you again on the spot.

If you were at will, no notice must be given. If you have a contract where termination is spelled out that must be followed.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

Wow - I'm just sorry that you were not given a chance to rectify the problem, and that they didn't make you aware there was a problem. I think it's VERY cowardly & unprofessional to fire someone in that manner. Anyone losing their job, especially in this economy, deserves to be told face to face, and why, IMO.

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answers from Washington DC on

I'm so sorry this happened at all, that it happened at this time of year, and that it happened in this unprofessional manner. As for the legality of it, well, as others have noted, if you are an at-will employee, then it likely is legal to fire you this way or any way. Unprofessional, yes, but unfortunately probably legal.

The question about legality makes me wonder if you are thinking of challenging the firing -- but if you are, why? If you challenge it, and you happen to win, you will have incurred a lot of cost in order to keep working in a situation that clearly isn't positive for you. Unfortunately too you probably have lost any chance of a good reference for another job teaching dance, and I hope you have a good reference from a past job -- someone you can turn to who will provide positive references when you apply elsewhere. But be aware that anyone looking to hire you has the right to ask what your last job was and why you left it. Or in this case, how it left you. If you're applying at a dance studio I would hope they'd understand that sometimes teaching styles clash and teachers move on because of that. Maybe you can leave it at that.

I read your past post about the boss who communicated with you by text (lousy management style) and the other teacher who is permitted to yell at students, etc. It sounds like a dysfunctional studio. The fact you were told never to correct one student is a huge red flag that the owner is more concerned about keeping some parent artificially happy than about actually teachiing a child dance. It says that the owner is interested just in keeping that family's money coming in and also is inept at handling parents who have an issue with something. I would be appalled if I thought a teacher were not correcting my daughter when it is needed (though I would be equally appalled if that teacher corrected by yelling or being cruel).

You might want to consider setting up as a dance teacher on your own; a person around here teaches dance in her home (she fitted out a studio in her basement) and isn't tied to any studio. If you do teach on your own, be sure to keep studying as well and taking master classes -- that will keep you sharp, get your name out there in the professional dance world, and make parents likelier to hire you, when they learn you take the time to keep training!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

It sounds like you should of have an inkling this was coming given your last question about the boss's rude behavior towards you, especially since they were mostly done via text, those were your little warnings. I'm sorry, this is totally unprofessional, but nothing you can do and it is legal. Look at it as a good thing to start over fresh somewhere you will actually enjoy, and with a boss that isn't as rude as this one.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

Considering your boss has been texting corrections to you, it's not surprising that he would use email for letting you go. I'm sorry. When you get a new job, it will be a relief.

Don't sell yourself short. My daughter was fired a few months ago for a mistake that was very small in my eyes. It was the best thing for her. She now has a fabulous job working at a great company and they just gave her glowing reviews for her first performance review. They keep adding new responsibilities and the benefits are out of this world for an entry level job. They even hired her at 3 dollars more per hour than what they origionally said they would be offering.

Use the whole thing to springboard you to a better place.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

Hmmm. Is it your personal email or your work email? If there's no way for them to track that you got the email, you can plead "I never got any email. What idiot would fire someone over an email??"

(My first marriage ended via a text message. Some people have no guts to do things like this face to face. Morons.)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Iowa City on

Are you a contractual employee or an at will employee? If you are at will then, though unprofessional, it is legal for you to be fired via email. Did they give a reason for termination? If you were fired/let go through no fault of your own, consider filing for unemployment while you seek future employment. Best of luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on

Did you really have no warning? It seems that you and your boss were having trouble seeing eye to eye about how you were teaching. Perhaps he wanted you to see the handwriting on the wall.

What is worse than finding out by email is that it happened right before Christmas. I'm very sorry this happened.


1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

You were 'fired' or 'let go'? There is a difference (obviouisly..LOL). If you were fired, they should have given you reason. At the company I work for, they can let you go without any cause or there a clause in your contract or something you signed when you started working that said that?

I am so sorry!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on


Sorry to hear this. It sucks but it's legal. They took the cowards way out, in my opinion.

You posted that you were having problems with the boss at work - so I'm not sure if it's a real surprise...that is not meant to be mean....California is a "at-will" employer - so you can quit anytime without notice and they can let you go without notice.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Yes, it is legal. If you need something with a signature to file for unemployment, then ask them for that. Otherwise, just file for unemployment and move on.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I don't know. It depends. If you were "hired" on a 'semester' basis and the email you received was a 'you won't be re-engaged this semester' then I would say that's legal. It's unprofessional, but probably legal.

Unless you were under a "contract" then your employment is "at-will" which means that you can be let go for absolutely no reason. Crappy. Especially at Christmas. Although, I don't know why people say that. It's crappy any time of year.

So, again. probably not illegal. but definitely unprofessional.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on


I am so sorry that they were cowards! It is legal but its a horrible way to go out--- Since california is an at-will state, you can quit for any reason and they can fire for any reason-on the spot, no notice etc. I am so sorry they did this to you! Hang in there!




answers from New York on

I would think that the way an employer chooses to terminate employment is up to them. E-mail is definitly unprofessional, however, I'm sure that it's legal.

Just reading between the lines here.... but are you really asking is did they have grounds to fire you? Probably not.



answers from Tampa on

This doubt about it.

Granted they did not tell you outright that "if you do not do xxxxx, then you will be fired". However, it does seem that they were really telling you this if you read between the lines. Whether it was right or wrong, your boss was letting you know that she was not happy with your performance.

From a business owner perspective, if she was truly about to lose parents over your teaching style, then she probably had to do something. The parents do pay the bills. If one parent isn't happy whether justified or not, they will tell 10 other parents.

The firing was probably legal. It was a crappy way to do it and highly unprofessional. Sadly, there is nothing really you can do except to move on...



answers from Seattle on

It depends on the terms of your employment and on the laws in your state. We have previously asked hourly employees not to return to work by email and then sent an official letter in the mail. But our unionized employees can't be fired without an appropriate disciplinary process that can drag on for years.

Sounds like this is a small business with "at will" employment, so it may be legal... but if you need to file for any benefits due to your unemployment you should ask for something in writing.
Good luck.



answers from Chicago on

It sucks, but yes it's legal. As long as you opened the email, you were notified in writing. Sucky thing for them to do though, and right before Christmas?! Sorry. :(

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