When job termination may be justified

Published by rudy Date posted on April 20, 2009

(Last part)

Thus, based from your narration of facts, it would appear that your dismissal from service may be valid under existing laws and jurisprudence especially so that you were given an opportunity to be heard.

Furthermore, you stated in your letter that you were a manager of the company. It is then worth mentioning that your position to the company is a managerial position which means that you are an alter ego of your employers and that your services were engaged on the basis of the confidence they reposed upon you. Such that when said confidence is lost, your employers may validly dismiss you from employment.

Now, we go to your first query of whether you can still claim that you were illegally dismissed even if you resigned under internal duress. You may still file a complaint that you were illegally dismissed from service even if you resigned under duress and ventilate the same before the proper office, which is the Labor Arbiter of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC).

However, you have to bear in mind that you have to present sufficient evidence that your dismissal from service was not in accordance with law.

Anent you second query of whether you can be dismissed not because of what they have accused you of but because the management decided that you are not fit to be a manager, the answer is in the affirmative.

Generally, employers are allowed a wider latitude of discretion in terminating the employment of managerial personnel or those who, while not of similar rank, perform functions which by their nature require the employer’s full trust and confidence. This should be distinguished from the case of ordinary rank-and-file employees, whose termination on the basis of the same grounds require a higher of proof of involvement in the events in question. Mere uncorroborated assertions and accusations by the employer will not suffice. (Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines Incorporated v. NLRC, et. al., G.R. No. 82580)

But while a managerial employee may be dismissed merely on the ground of loss of confidence, the matter of determining whether the cause for dismissing an employee is justified on ground of loss of confidence, cannot be left entirely to the employer. (De Leon vs. NLRS 100 SCRA 691).

While an employer has its own interests to protect, and pursuant thereto, it may terminate a managerial employee for a just cause, such prerogative to dismiss or lay off an employee must be exercised without abuse of discretion. Its implementation should be tempered with compassion and understanding. The employer should bear in mind that in the execution of said prerogative, what is at stake is not only the employee’s position but his livelihood. The fact that one is a managerial employee does not itself exclude him from the protection of the constitutional guarantee of security of tenure. (Maglutac vs. NLRC G.R. No. 78345, Sept. 21, 1990)

Thus, employees may be dismissed only in the manner provided by law (Radio Communications of the Phil., Inc. v. National Labor Relations Commission, 223 SCRA 656). The right of the employer must not be exercised arbitrarily and without just cause. Otherwise, the constitutional mandate of security of tenure of the workers would be rendered nugatory (China City Restaurant Corporation v. National Labor Relations Commission, 217 SCRA 443).
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Finally, as to your query as to whether you can file anything for the wrongdoing of the management of company, if you indeed feel that you were aggrieved by the acts committed against you by the management of the company that led to your illegal dismissal from employment, then, you may lodge a complaint before the NLRC for illegal dismissal/termination from employment. In the said complaint, you may include damages such as actual and moral damages, and other claims to cover all your grievances. However, due process shall also be given by the NLRC to both contending parties.

We hope we were able to enlighten you on the matter. Please take note however that all the information contained herein are based on our appreciation of your questions. A different legal opinion may be given if other facts not included in your queries will be discussed. 

Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to dearpao@manilatimes.net or via text message (key in: Times dearpao <YOUR QUESTION> and send to 2299).

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