Last week 900 employees of the mortgage firm Better.com in the United States were announced their dismissal through a video call from Zoom. The news traveled the world leaving open a question: is it valid to fire an employee through technological platforms? To answer the question, the legal regulations of each country must be reviewed and in the Costa Rican case the option cannot be ruled out.
Dismissal with or without responsibility
Dismissals, according to the law, are of two types: with employer responsibility and without employer responsibility. In the former, the employer applies the freedom of dismissal, where by means of a valid justification the employment relationship can be terminated. Of course, in those cases you have to pay all the extremes of the law: Christmas bonus, vacations and unemployment.
For these dismissals it is possible to apply virtual calls as they can be made verbally. The legislation does not require that the letter of dismissal with employer responsibility be delivered personally.
Experts recommend, of course, that the system is not applied in such a massive way as the employer must verify that the dismissed employees are connected and can receive all the information.
This is because, although the letter is not necessary, it must be shown in some way that the news of the dismissal was indicated to the worker. This is key for employers because the law establishes on them the burden of proof, so it would be desirable to record the communication or have witnesses.
In these cases, even if the departure is made official from the call, the outgoing employees have the right to later receive a receipt detailing the dates on which they worked for the employer.
The opposite occurs for dismissals without employer responsibility
In these, the employer does not have to pay severance pay and they are limited to a few reasons by the Labor Code. For these cases, a letter is necessary detailing the justifications for the dismissal, which must be sent to the worker.
Dismissal without employer responsibility is one that has a just cause. It is the one in which I dissociate the worker because he committed an offense and therefore I am firing him. As this reason for dismissal is individualized, I have to deliver the letter personally.
The famous case that traveled the world
The massive layoff of Better.com employees transcended days ago and encompassed 900 employees, 15% of the payroll. “If you are on this call, you are part of the unfortunate group that is being laid off,” CEO Vishal Garg said on the call.
The measure provoked various criticisms both in substance and in form. Although the legality of the same was highlighted according to North American laws, it was stressed that morally issues such as dismissal must be accompanied by better treatment.