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A Times journalist was more than a little annoyed when she was informed of her sacking after 13 years as chief cookery writer by an email asking her where and when she wanted her leaving do.

But Frances Bissell's anger wasn't sufficient for her to win unfair dismissal at an employment tribunal. After all, the letter from the editor informing her that her services were no longer required did arrive a few days later.

Bissell was not too pleased either that the email arrived soon after she heard that a close relative had died. Despite the fact that Frances had won several awards for the paper and was memorably described as an undercover Delia Smith by enfant terrible of the cookery world, chef Gordon Ramsay, the firing was held to be legal as she was a freelance, earning £650 a week.

The email, from a section editor, read: "Dear Frances, By now I imagine you will have received the editor's letter suggesting that it's time to bring your long and distinguished association with The Times to a close. I should like to have a talk with you to discuss the manner of your going and, not least, your farewell dinner which I hope very much you will allow us to give you." Frances was fired because her style was no longer in tune with readers, said the editor.

And so another peril of email (no porn or smutty cartoons this time though). Remember: it's faster than snail mail. ®

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