FORT WORTH, Te – RadioShack Corp. followed through on its announced plans to cut about 400 jobs, but the electronics retailer has been forced on the defensive about its method of notifying laid-off employees by e-mail.
Employees at the Fort Worth headquarters received an e-mail Tuesday morning telling them they were being dismissed immediately.
"The work force reduction notification is currently in progress," the notice stated. "Unfortunately your position is one that has been eliminated."
Company officials had told employees in a series of meetings that layoff notices would be delivered electronically, spokeswoman Kay Jackson said. She said employees were invited to ask questions before Tuesday's notification on a company intranet site.
Management experts expressed surprise at RadioShack's use of electronic notification instead of face-to-face meetings with supervisors.
Derrick D'Souza, a management professor at the University of North Texas, said he had never heard of such a large number of terminated employees being notified electronically. He said it could be seen as dehumanizing to employees.
"If I put myself in their shoes, I'd say, 'Didn't they have a few minutes to tell me?'" D'Souza said.
Laid-off workers got one to three weeks pay for each year of service, up to 16 weeks for hourly employees and 36 weeks for those with base bay of at least $90,000, the company said.
The company announced Aug. 10 that it would cut 400 to 450 jobs, mostly at headquarters, to cut expenses and "improve its long-term competitive position in the marketplace."
RadioShack has also closed nearly 500 stores, consolidated distribution centers and liquidated slow-moving merchandise in an effort to shake out of a sales slump. Sales of cellular phones, a key item for RadioShack, have been disappointing.
Last month, the company hired a former Kmart executive, Julian Day, as chief executive, replacing an interim leader who stepped in when the previous CEO quit after admitting lying on his resume.
One of Day's first actions was to cancel conference calls with analysts to review RadioShack's financial results, an unusual step for public companies.
Shares of RadioShack rose 10 cents, to $18.02 in trading Wednesday morning on the New York Stock Exchange.