Today, 98.1% of messaging app users use WhatsApp to communicate. With the appearance of these new ways of relating, a question arises that cannot be left unanswered: is it legal to leave work on WhatsApp?
With the passage of time, the media have evolved and, in turn, the means of notification. Therefore, the legal system has seen the need to adapt to the new situation.
Labor Law has not been the only one affected by all this reality, but this adaptation has been reflected in many more branches of Law, such as, for example, in Administrative Law and the new Law 39/2015 that includes a section called “electronic media”.
Using Whatsapp to Leave a Job: The Position of the High Court of Justice
Referring to the subject at issue here, the resignation of a job,the Workers’ Statute says in its article 49.1.d) that an employment contract may be terminated by the resignation of a worker, taking into account the notice indicated by collective agreements or custom.
This notification can be presented both verbally and in writing and jurisprudence has come to admit communications by electronic means.
Despite this, many people still think that communicating a voluntary withdrawal through WhatsApp would not be considered valid,as a result of the lack of officiality of this method.
However, the High Court of Justice has ruled and admitted the use of WhatsApp as a means to leave a job.
Specifically, a judge of the Supreme Court of Justice of Madrid points out that voluntary withdrawal can be expressed expressed expressly or tacitly and it is not necessary that it be done formally, it is sufficient for the worker to express the will to terminate the contract indisputably; that is, a manifestation of the will of the worker concrete, firm and strict.
Despite the above, the use of these notification methods generates a series of complications when used in such delicate cases, such as the communication of a voluntary withdrawal.
Conversations through electronic means are similar to verbal communication, but with a great drawback that arises as a result of the easy manipulation of such means,so in these cases it will be necessary to provide a set of evidence that supports these statements more robustly.
Notification Validity Requirements
To all this, in order to be considered valid the notification of leaving a job by WhatsApp as seen above, it would be necessary not only the notice of the voluntary withdrawal by the worker, but the confirmation of the employer of having received said message.
All this is because the response of this would be a form of implicit admission of the communication of the worker’s desire to terminate the employment relationship and, as it appears in the Workers’ Statute and has confirmed this Judgment of the Superior Court of Justice of Madrid,the clear and firm manifestation of the will of the worker to terminate an employment contract is sufficient cause for its extinction.
So, if the communication that is made through WhatsApp does not meet the requirements listed above, it will be invalid.
Recapitulating on what has already been mentioned, it is worth emphasizing the need to comply with these formalities.
- It must be a declaration of the worker’s will in which he clearly and firmly expresses his intention to terminate his employment contract.
- The worker’s superior will have to respond to this message,this response being understood as an admission of the communication of the employee’s will.
Finally, it should not be forgotten that, regardless of the method used to communicate the desire to terminate the contract, the minimum period of notice to be complied with,determined by collective agreements or the custom of the place, which as a general rule is usually 15 days.
In conclusion, the duty of the legal system is to evolve in parallel and together with society to maintain its effectiveness over time. One of the most important factors to which it has had to adapt has been the advancement and development of electronic communications. A very clear example of this adaptation is this case in which it is allowed to communicate the voluntary withdrawal of a job by WhatsApp.
So the answer to the question of whether it is legal to quit a job through WhatsApp,will be affirmative although minimum requirements will always have to be met. Also, it should be noted that it is always preferable to do it in writing and leaving a record of the interruption in the activity and the date of this termination of the contract.