by Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez (The Freeman), 1 Sep 2021
Well, this is my field of work, handling HR and labor cases in such top conglomerates and multinationals as San Miguel Corp., Pepsi-Cola, and Petron for no less than 25 years, and as Department of Labor and Employment and National Labor Relations Commission official for more than 20 years. And I have been teaching this for more than 40 years in the University of Santo Tomas, San Beda, University of the East, Far Eastern University, San Sebastian College, Centro Escolar University, and in my alma mater, the University of the Visayas. Thus, I know whereof I write.
I have read thousands of Supreme Court decisions, decided hundreds of them myself as a former labor arbiter and DOLE undersecretary and as an incumbent accredited arbitrator. Right now, I am handling many such cases as a lawyer for management, counsel for workers, and as an active labor arbitrator. I know the reasons why employees are fired. First, incompetence, insufficient knowledge, skills, and aptitudes. They have no training, much less experience and they come completely clueless. And so, we ask: Why did management hire them in the first place? Most of the problems in termination of workers result from the original sin; monumental mistakes in hiring the wrong people. Second, insubordination, the nerve to willfully disobey the lawful and reasonable order of management. When you accept the job, you submit yourself to the authority of your employer. If you have no talent for obedience, be an employer, not an employee.
Third, dishonesty. My God, a lot of executives were fired for demanding bribes from suppliers, for falsifying receipts in liquidation reports, for forging signatures in medical certificates and even submitting fake diplomas and transcript of school records. Do you think that management is stupid enough not to find out? Fourth, conflict of interests, when you are a soft drink salesman for Brand X, why are you selling Brand Y in your own sari-sari store at home? Even a simple grade school pupil can figure out the conflict of interest. Fifth, drugs, alcoholism, and substance abuse make an employee mentally, emotionally, and psychologically affected, and puts at high risk the safety and security of the owners, fellow employees, and customers. That is unforgivable. These are forms of serious misconduct justifying dismissal from work.
Sixth, immorality, if a married executive or manager impregnates a young secretary or even an apprentice or OJT trainee, that company official should be fired. He loses the moral authority to manage the business and lead the people. If you are a single faculty member of an exclusive religious school for girls, and you get pregnant without prior marriage, you should expect that you will no longer be allowed to teach. You make a very bad behavior model for the growing girls. The nuns, the priests or the pastors have the prerogative to fire you if you fail to tender your voluntary resignation. Seventh, sexual harassment. If a male high school teacher touches his male students in exchange for a passing grade then that will be the end of his teaching career. No ifs, no buts. Eighth, gross negligence causing damage to company assets is also a just cause to dismiss. You could be fired for getting Below Average in the performance appraisal three times in a row.
Ninth, publishing a libelous statement against the owners of your company can put you in hot water. A union leader of VECO was fired by management for this reason. He filed a case of illegal dismissal, he lost his case in the Supreme Court. If you have an issue against your employer, raise that in the proper forum, not in the media. Don’t wash dirty linen in public. Tenth, abandonment of job. Absent for a week, and never contacting the office, refusing to respond to summons to come back are palpable evidence of lack of intent to return. How then can you abandon and still have the face to complain of illegal dismissal. You were not fired. You fired yourself.