Dismissals can be made through Whatsapp and without compensation for workers

  • Mainly during the pandemic period, workers were laid off via Whatsapp;

  • When trying to claim compensation regarding the communication considered unofficial, workers had a negative opinion;

  • For the lawyers interviewed, everything goes through ‘respect and cordiality’ when firing through the app.

The Labor Court started to validate dismissals via applications. Mainly during the pandemic period, workers were laid off via Whatsapp messages. As an unfavorable vote in the process at the Regional Labor Court of São Paulo (2nd Region), judge Rilma Aparecida Hemérito recalled that “Whatsapp has become a great ally”.

However, the aid of the platform seems to tend only to the bosses: when trying to claim compensation regarding the communication considered unofficial, workers had a negative opinion.

According to a survey by Data Lawyer Insights, between 2017 and 2021, 144,000 cases involving the terms of dismissal, Whatsapp and moral damages were registered, of which 103,000 occurred during the coronavirus pandemic. Jurists claim that the use of technological resources can be equal to face-to-face treatment.

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“In a scenario where it is possible for workers to carry out their activities anywhere in the world, why would it be required that communication and other dismissal procedures take place in person?” asked lawyer Matheus Cantarella Vieira, from the Souza, Mello office and Towers.

In the case of the TRT process in São Paulo, a pedagogical coordinator was dismissed via the application, and claimed that the prior notice could not be replaced by a message. Another decision given at the TRT in Rio de Janeiro had moral damages denied, as it assessed that the message, sent privately and not in groups, did not generate any kind of embarrassment.

In another opinion, a domestic worker had a good cause. According to the legal assessment, the difference was in the tone of the message sent by the employer. The message read:

“Good morning. You’re fired. Return my house keys and card. You’ll be contacted shortly to sign documents.” The compensation amount for the former employee was three minimum wages.

For lawyers interviewed by Value, everything goes through ‘respect and cordiality’ when firing through the application. Thus, the worker is, once again, depending on the employer.