Finding out their jobs were going away was hard enough for many employees of Seven Salon in Seattle — but receiving the news via text made it worse.
Some employees at Seven Salon in downtown Seattle’s Pacific Place mall found it odd when they were sent home early Saturday evening. By 8:30 p.m., employees said, close to 50 received a mass text message informing them the upscale salon was shutting down and their jobs were going away.
Stylist Meghan Stevens, 24, of Seattle, was watching television and sipping wine when she got the text. She had to read it several times before she was convinced it wasn’t a joke.
“I wanted to know why, and why it happened out of nowhere,” Stevens said.
The text stated the Seattle salon and academy “have closed for business reasons.” The message said some hair stylists would receive compensation packages and could transfer to the firm’s other salon, in Bellevue.
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On Monday, employees trickled into the salon, which was shrouded in black drapes, to pick up personal belongings. Some left tearfully carrying tote bags with their stuff.
Calls to the salon’s ownership, Proctor Lane Investments, were not returned.
According to a LinkedIn profile, the firm owns several businesses in the Puget Sound area and was founded by Marsha and Jay Glazer, entrepreneurs, philanthropists and art collectors. Marsha Glazer is the daughter of the late Seattle businessman and philanthropist Samuel Stroum.
Telling workers via text they no longer have jobs is legal and seems efficient, but it’s not particularly humane, said Karen Sutherland, chairwoman of the employment and labor group at Seattle law firm Ogden Murphy Wallace.
“Generally, we advise in-person communication because it’s something that has a major effect on somebody’s life,” she said. “You want to give them an opportunity to ask questions and figure out what next steps will be.”
Employers are obligated to respond within 10 days to written inquiries from employees, she added.
The abruptness of the closure and the blunt communication left some people in the local beauty industry stunned.
“A text message — I can’t comprehend that,” said Lisa Vann, co-owner of Vann Edge Salon in Seattle. “I don’t even like to be told someone is going to be late over text.”
Vann said Seven Salon was known as “fashion-forward” with highly skilled stylists. She was one of numerous salon owners who has offered to interview and help former Seven Salon stylists find new jobs
A Facebook page popped up to connect former stylists with their clients.
For Sophie Rohlinger, 21, of Everett, support from other salons helped soften the blow of losing a job she loved.
She still questions why the salon closed down.
“I would have preferred to be told in person,” she said. “I don’t really know what to think, except that I need to find another job.”