Florida restaurant owner fires employees by text message

Claudine Zap
Claudine Zap
The Sideshow

It’s never a message anyone wants to hear: You’re fired. But getting a pink slip by text message came as a shock.

Local Florida station WFTV reported that Jodi Jackson, a chef who had worked for Barducci's Italian Bistro in Winter Park, Fla., found out she was out of a job by a text message from owner Gregory Kennedy.

"I think it's immoral. I think it's cowardice," Jackson told WFTV. The text message to the staffer on July 4 read, “I unfortunately need to inform you that I have been forced to close Barducci's effective immediately."

According to the cook, at least 12 other employees received the same message. The surprise Fourth of July firing gave no notice, the employee said. The restaurant is now shut down, and Jackson says the workers are waiting for their final paychecks.

"I think we all deserve our compensation for money he's already made from us," Jackson told the TV station.

Customers who had purchased Groupon deals for the restaurant also worried they would not be refunded. "Now I'm thinking about how I'm going to get my money back from that," Lauren Bartolome, standing in front of the shuttered eatery, told the TV station. "I don't know what to do now."

However, Groupon told the TV station that it will give customers a refund.

The issue of employee pay, however, still seems to be unresolved. When a WFTV reporter tried to contact the restaurant owner for a comment, he finally replied to her—by text.

“Unfortunately businesses are forced to close across Orlando every day especially in the restaurant sector," Kennedy sent by cellphone message. “I am working to resolve issues including final paychecks as quickly as possible."