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Ponencia by Justice Lucas P. Bersamin, 2017 Bar Chairman

also MMM who determined the compensation package of


G.R. No. 157802. October 13, 2010 respondent. Thus, respondent was an employee, not a
"corporate officer." The CA was therefore correct in ruling
As a rule, the illegal dismissal of an officer or other that jurisdiction over the case was properly with the NLRC,
employee of a private employer is properly cognizable by not the SEC (now the RTC).
the LA. This is pursuant to Article 217 (a) 2 of the Labor
Code, as amended, which provides as follows:
G.R. No. 157802. October 13, 2010
Art. 217. Jurisdiction of the Labor Arbiters and the
Commission. The criteria for distinguishing between corporate officers
who may be ousted from office at will, on one hand, and
a. Except as otherwise provided under this Code, the Labor ordinary corporate employees who may only be terminated
Arbiters shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction to hear for just cause, on the other hand, do not depend on the
and decide, within thirty (30) calendar days after the nature of the services performed, but on the manner of
submission of the case by the parties for decision without creation of the office. In the respondent's case, he was
extension, even in the absence of stenographic notes, the supposedly at once an employee, a stockholder, and a
following cases involving all workers, whether agricultural Director of Matling.
or non-agricultural:
The circumstances surrounding his appointment to office
1. Unfair labor practice cases; must be fully considered to determine whether the
dismissal constituted an intra-corporate controversy or a
2. Termination disputes; labor termination dispute. We must also consider whether
his status as Director and stockholder had any relation at all
3. If accompanied with a claim for reinstatement, those to his appointment and subsequent dismissal as Vice
cases that workers may file involving wages, rates of pay, President for Finance and Administration.
hours of work and other terms and conditions of
employment;
G.R. No. 160302. September 27, 2010
4. Claims for actual, moral, exemplary and other forms of
damages arising from the employer-employee relations; Conformably with the long honored principle of a fair day's
wage for a fair day's labor, employees dismissed for joining
5. Cases arising from any violation of Article 264 of this an illegal strike are not entitled to backwages for the period
Code, including questions involving the legality of strikes of the strike even if they are reinstated by virtue of their
and lockouts; and being merely members of the striking union who did not
commit any illegal act during the strike.
6. Except claims for Employees Compensation, Social
Security, Medicare and maternity benefits, all other claims
arising from employer-employee relations, including those G.R. No. 160302. September 27, 2010.
of persons in domestic or household service, involving an
amount exceeding five thousand pesos (P5,000.00) Art. 279. Security of tenure. In cases of regular
regardless of whether accompanied with a claim for employment, the employer shall not terminate the services
reinstatement. of an employee except for a just cause or when authorized
by this Title. An employee who is unjustly dismissed from
b. The Commission shall have exclusive appellate work shall be entitled to reinstatement without loss of
jurisdiction over all cases decided by Labor Arbiters. seniority rights and other privileges and to his full
backwages, inclusive of allowances, and to his other
c. Cases arising from the interpretation or implementation benefits or their monetary equivalent computed from the
of collective bargaining agreements and those arising from time his compensation was withheld from him up to the
the interpretation or enforcement of company personnel time of his actual reinstatement. (As amended by Section
policies shall be disposed of by the Labor Arbiter by 34, Republic Act No. 6715, March 21, 1989)
referring the same to the grievance machinery and
voluntary arbitration as may be provided in said By its use of the phrase unjustly dismissed, Article 279
agreements. (As amended by Section 9, Republic Act No. refers to a dismissal that is unjustly done, that is, the
6715, March 21, 1989) employer dismisses the employee without observing due
process, either substantive or procedural. Substantive due
process requires the attendance of any of the just or
G.R. No. 157802. October 13, 2010 authorized causes for terminating an employee as provided
under Article 278 (termination by employer), or Article 283
In this case, respondent was appointed vice president for (closure of establishment and reduction of personnel), or
nationwide expansion by MMM, petitioner's general Article 284 (disease as ground for termination), all of the
manager, not by the board of directors of petitioner. It was

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Labor Code; while procedural due process demands G.R. No. 160302. September 27, 2010.
compliance with the twin-notice requirement.
With respect to backwages, the principle of a "fair day's
In contrast, the third paragraph of Article 264 (a) states: wage for a fair day's labor" remains as the basic factor in
determining the award thereof. If there is no work
Art. 264. Prohibited activities. performed by the employee there can be no wage or pay
unless, of course, the laborer was able, willing and ready to
a work but was illegally locked out, suspended or dismissed
xxx xxx xxx or otherwise illegally prevented from working.

Any worker whose employment has been terminated as a The Court stressed that for this exception to apply, it is
consequence of any unlawful lockout shall be entitled to required that the strike be legal, a situation that does not
reinstatement with full backwages. Any union officer who obtain in the case at bar.
knowingly participates in an illegal strike and any worker or
union officer who knowingly participates in the commission
of illegal acts during a strike may be declared to have lost G.R. No. 160302. September 27, 2010.
his employment status: Provided, That mere participation
of a worker in a lawful strike shall not constitute sufficient Under the principle of a fair day's wage for a fair day's
ground for termination of his employment, even if a labor, the petitioners were not entitled to the wages during
replacement had been hired by the employer during such the period of the strike (even if the strike might be legal),
lawful strike. because they performed no work during the strike. Verily, it
was neither fair nor just that the dismissed employees
Contemplating two causes for the dismissal of an should litigate against their employer on the latter's time.
employee, that is: (a) unlawful lockout; and (b) participation Thus, the Court deleted the award of backwages and held
in an illegal strike, the third paragraph of Article 264 (a) that the striking workers were entitled only to
authorizes the award of full backwages only when the reinstatement considering that the striking employees did
termination of employment is a consequence of an not render work for the employer during the strike.
unlawful lockout. On the consequences of an illegal strike,
the provision distinguishes between a union officer and a
union member participating in an illegal strike. A union
officer who knowingly participates in an illegal strike is G.R. No. 160302. September 27, 2010.
deemed to have lost his employment status, but a union
member who is merely instigated or induced to participate To safeguard the spirit of social justice that the Court has
in the illegal strike is more benignly treated. Part of the advocated in favor of the working man, therefore, the right
explanation for the benign consideration for the union to reinstatement is to be considered renounced or waived
member is the policy of reinstating rank-and-le workers only when the employee unjustifiably or unreasonably
who are misled into supporting illegal strikes, absent any refuses to return to work upon being so ordered or after
finding that such workers committed illegal acts during the the employer has offered to reinstate him.
period of the illegal strikes.

G.R. No. 160302. September 27, 2010.


G.R. No. 160302. September 27, 2010.
Separation pay is made an alternative relief in lieu of
As a general rule, backwages are granted to indemnify a reinstatement in certain circumstances, like:
dismissed employee for his loss of earnings during the (a) when reinstatement can no longer be effected in view of
whole period that he is out of his job. Considering that an the passage of a long period of time or because of the
illegally dismissed employee is not deemed to have left his realities of the situation;
employment, he is entitled to all the rights and privileges (b) reinstatement is inimical to the employer's interest;
that accrue to him from the employment. The grant of (c) reinstatement is no longer feasible;
backwages to him is in furtherance and effectuation of the (d) reinstatement does not serve the best interests of the
public objectives of the Labor Code, and is in the nature of parties involved;
a command to the employer to make a public reparation (e) the employer is prejudiced by the workers' continued
for his illegal dismissal of the employee in violation of the employment;
Labor Code. (f) facts that make execution unjust or inequitable have
supervened; or
That backwages are not granted to employees participating (g) strained relations between the employer and employee.
in an illegal strike simply accords with the reality that they
do not render work for the employer during the period of Here, PINA manifested that the reinstatement of the
the illegal strike. petitioners would not be feasible because: (a) it would
"inflict disruption and oppression upon the employer"; (b)
"petitioners [had] stayed away" for more than 15 years; (c)

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its machines had depreciated and had been replaced with employee has been called upon to perform, are also
newer, better ones; and (d) it now sold goods through considered. The law affords protection to an employee, and
independent distributors, thereby abolishing the positions does not countenance any attempt to subvert its spirit and
related to sales and distribution. intent. Any stipulation in writing can be ignored when the
employer utilizes the stipulation to deprive the employee of
Under the circumstances, the grant of separation pay in lieu his security of tenure. The inequality that characterizes
of reinstatement of the petitioners was proper. It is not employer-employee relations generally tips the scales in
disputable that the grant of separation pay or some other favor of the employer, such that the employee is often
financial assistance to an employee is based on equity, scarcely provided real and better options.
which has been defined as justice outside law, or as being
ethical rather than jural and as belonging to the sphere of
morals than of law. This Court has granted separation pay G.R. No. 153511
as a measure of social justice even when an employee has
been validly dismissed, as long as the dismissal has not Respo de ts e u e atio , al eit de o i ated as tale t
been due to serious misconduct or reflective of personal fees, was still considered as included in the term wage in
integrity or morality. the sense and context of the Labor Code, regardless of how
petitioner chose to designate the remuneration. Anent this,

G.R. No. 153511 Article 97(f) of the Labor Code clearly states:

There is no longer any doubt that a petition for certiorari xxx wage paid to any employee shall mean the
brought to assail the decision of the NLRC may raise factual remuneration or earnings, however designated, capable of
issues, and the CA may then review the decision of the being expressed in terms of money, whether fixed or
NLRC and pass upon such factual issues in the process. The ascertained on a time, task, piece, or commission basis, or
power of the CA to review factual issues in the exercise of other method of calculating the same, which is payable by
its original jurisdiction to issue writs of certiorari is based on an employer to an employee under a written or unwritten
Section 9 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, which pertinently contract of employment for work done or to be done, or for
provides that the CA "shall have the power to try cases and services rendered or to be rendered, and includes the fair
conduct hearings, receive evidence and perform any and all and reasonable value, as determined by the Secretary of
acts necessary to resolve factual issues raised in cases Labor, of board, lodging, or other facilities customarily
falling within its original and appellate jurisdiction, including furnished by the employer to the employee.
the power to grant and conduct new trials or further
proceedings." Clearly, respondent received compensation for the services
he e de ed as a pia ist i petitio e s hotel. Petitio e
cannot use the service contract to rid itself of the
G.R. No. 153511 consequences of its employment of respondent. There is no
denying that whatever amounts he received for his
The issue of whether or not an employer-employee performance, howsoever designated by petitioner, were his
relationship existed between petitioner and respondent is wages.
essentially a question of fact. The factors that determine
the issue include who has the power to select the
e plo ee, ho pa s the e plo ees ages, ho has the G.R. No. 153511
power to dismiss the employee, and who exercises control
of the methods and results by which the work of the That respondent worked for less than eight hours/day was
employee is accomplished. Although no particular form of of o o se ue e a d did ot det a t f o the CAs
evidence is required to prove the existence of the finding on the existence of the employer-employee
relationship, and any competent and relevant evidence to relationship. In providing that the " normal hours of work of
prove the relationship may be admitted, a finding that the any employee shall not exceed eight (8) hours a day,"
relationship exists must nonetheless rest on substantial Article 83 of the Labor Code only set a maximum of number
evidence, which is that amount of relevant evidence that a of hours as "normal hours of work" but did not prohibit
reasonable mind might accept as adequate to justify a work of less than eight hours.
conclusion.

G.R. No. 153511


G.R. No. 153511 The power of the employer to control the work of the
employee is considered the most significant determinant of
Petitioner could not seek refuge behind the service the existence of an employer-employee relationship. This is
contract entered into with respondent. It is the law that the so-called control test, and is premised on whether the
defines and governs an employment relationship, whose person for whom the services are performed reserves the
terms are not restricted to those fixed in the written right to control both the end achieved and the manner and
contract, for other factors, like the nature of the work the means used to achieve that end.

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G.R. No. 153511


Indeed, not every loss incurred or expected to be incurred
Retrenchment is one of the authorized causes for the by an employer can justify retrenchment. The employer
dismissal of employees recognized by the Labor Code. It is a must prove, among others, that the losses are substantial
management prerogative resorted to by employers to avoid and that the retrenchment is reasonably necessary to avert
or to minimize business losses. On this matter, Article 283 such losses. Thus, by its failure to present sufficient and
of the Labor Code states: convincing evidence to prove that retrenchment was
e essa , espo de ts te i atio due to et e h e t
Article 283. Closure of establishment and reduction of is not allowed.
personnel. The employer may also terminate the
employment of any employee due to the installation of
labor-saving devices, redundancy, retrenchment to prevent G.R. No. 153511
losses or the closing or cessation of operation of the
establishment or undertaking unless the closing is for the The Court realizes that the lapse of time since the
purpose of circumventing the provisions of this Title, by retrenchment might have rendered respondent's
serving a written notice on the workers and the Ministry of reinstatement to his former job no longer feasible. If that
Labor and Employment at least one (1) month before the should be true, then petitioner should instead pay to him
intended date thereof. xxx. In case of retrenchment to separation pay at the rate of one. month pay for every year
prevent losses and in cases of closures or cessation of of service computed from September 1992 (when he
operations of establishment or undertaking not due to commenced to work for the petitioners) until the finality of
serious business losses or financial reverses, the separation this decision, and full backwages from the time his
pay shall be equivalent to one (1) month pay or at least compensation was withheld until the finality of this
one-half (1/2) month pay for every year of service, decision.
whichever is higher. A fraction of at least six (6) months
shall be considered one (1) whole year.
G.R. No. 160444

G.R. No. 153511 The employment of seafarers, and its incidents, including
claims for death benefits, are governed by the contracts
The Court has laid down the following standards that an they sign every time they are hired or rehired. Such
employer should meet to justify retrenchment and to foil contracts have the force of law between the parties as long
abuse, namely: as their stipulations are not contrary to law, morals, public
(a) The expected losses should be substantial and not order or public policy. While the seafarers and their
merely de minimis in extent; employers are governed by their mutual agreements, the
(b) The substantial losses apprehended must be reasonably POEA rules and regulations require that the POEA SEC,
imminent; which contains the standard terms and conditions of the
(c) The retrenchment must be reasonably necessary and seafa e s e plo e t i fo eig o ea -going vessels, be
likely to effectively prevent the expected losses; and i teg ated i e e seafa e s o t a t.
(d) The alleged losses, if already incurred, and the expected
imminent losses sought to be forestalled must be proved by
sufficient and convincing evidence. G.R. No. 160444

Anent the last standard of sufficient and convincing The one tasked to determine whether the seafarer suffers
evidence, it ought to be pointed out that a less exacting from any disability or is fit to work is the company-
standard of proof would render too easy the abuse of designated physician. As such, the seafarer must submit
retrenchment as a ground for termination of services of himself to the company-designated physician for a post
employees. employment medical examination within three days from
his repatriation. But the assessment of the company-
designated physician is not final, binding or conclusive on
G.R. No. 153511 the seafarer, the labor tribunals, or the courts. The seafarer
may request a second opinion and consult a physician of his
In termination cases, the burden of proving that the choice regarding his ailment or injury, and the medical
dismissal was for a valid or authorized cause rests upon the report issued by the physician of his choice shall also be
employer. Here, petitioner did not submit evidence of the evaluated on its inherent merit by the labor tribunal and
losses to its business operations and the economic havoc it the court.
would thereby imminently sustain. It only claimed that
espo de ts te i atio as due to its "p ese t
business/financial condition." This bare statement fell short G.R. No. 163700
of the norm to show a valid retrenchment. Hence, we hold
that there was no valid cause for the retrenchment of The existence of an employer-employee relationship is a
respondent. question of fact. Generally, a re-examination of factual

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findings cannot be done by the Court acting on a petition the parties, an employment shall be deemed to be regular
for review on certiorari because the Court is not a trier of where the employee has been engaged to perform
facts but reviews only questions of law. Nor may the Court activities which are usually necessary and desirable to the
be bound to analyze and weigh again the evidence adduced usual business or trade of the employer, except where the
and considered in the proceedings below. This rule is not employment has been fixed for a specific project or
absolute, however, and admits of exceptions. For one, the undertaking the completion or termination of which has
Court may look into factual issues in labor cases when the been determined at the time of the engagement of the
factual findings of the Labor Arbiter, the NLRC, and the CA employee or where the work or service to be performed is
are conflicting. seasonal in nature and the employment is for the duration
of the season.

G.R. No. 163700 xxxx

Moreover, in determining the presence or absence of an A project employee is, therefore, one who is hired for a
employer-employee relationship, the Court has consistently specific project or undertaking, and the completion or
looked for the following incidents, to wit: termination of such project or undertaking has been
(a) the selection and engagement of the employee; determined at the time of engagement of the employee. In
(b) the payment of wages; the context of the law, Bello was a project employee of
(c) the power of dismissal; and DMCI at the beginning of their employer-employee
d the e plo e s po e to o t ol the e plo ee o the relationship. The project employment contract they then
means and methods by which the work is accomplished. entered into clearly gave notice to him at the time of his
The last element, the so-called control test, is the most engagement about his employment being for a specific
important element. project or phase of work. He was also thereby notified of
the duration of the project, and the determinable
completion date of the project.
G.R. No. 157086

In a petition filed by a legitimate labor organization Ho e e , the histo of BBBs appoi t e t a d


involving an unorganized establishment, the Med-Arbiter employment showed that he performed his tasks as a
shall, pursuant to Article 257 of the Code, automatically aso i DDDs various constructions projects. Bello
order the conduct of certification election after acquired in time the status of a regular employee by virtue
determining that the petition has complied with all of his continuous work as a mason of DDD. The work of a
requirements under Section 1, 2 and 4 of the same rules mason like him a skilled workman working with stone or
and that none of the grounds for dismissal thereof exists, similar material was really related to building or
the order for the conduct of a certification election is constructing, and was undoubtedly a function necessary
proper. and desirable to the business or trade of one engaged in
the construction industry like DDD. His being hired as a
mason by DDD in not one, but several of its projects
G.R. No. 157900 revealed his necessity and desirability to its construction
business.
The cessation of business was not a bona fide closure to be
regarded as a valid ground for the termination of
employment within the ambit of Article 283 of the Labor G.R. No. 159371
Code. The provision pertinently reads:
Article 283. Closure of establishment and reduction of It is settled that the extension of the employment of a
personnel. The employer may also terminate the project employee long after the supposed project has been
employment of any employee due to the installation of completed removes the employee from the scope of a
labor-saving devices, redundancy, retrenchment to prevent project employee and makes him a regular employee. In
losses or the closing or cessation of operation of the this ega d, the le gth of ti e of the e plo ees se i e,
establishment or undertaking unless the closing is for the while not a controlling determinant of project employment,
purpose of circumventing the provisions of this Title, by is a strong factor in determining whether he was hired for a
serving a written notice on the workers and the specific undertaking or in fact tasked to perform functions
Department of Labor and Employment at least one (1) vital, necessary and indispensable to the usual business or
month before the intended date thereof. x x x. trade of the employer.

G.R. No. 159371 It is settled that the extension of the employment of a


project employee long after the supposed project has been
Article 280. Regular and Casual Employment The completed removes the employee from the scope of a
provisions of written agreement to the contrary project employee and makes him a regular employee. In
notwithstanding and regardless of the oral agreement of this ega d, the le gth of ti e of the e plo ees se i e,

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while not a controlling determinant of project employment, Loss of confidence, as a just cause for termination of
is a strong factor in determining whether he was hired for a employment, is premised on the fact that the employee
specific undertaking or in fact tasked to perform functions concerned holds a position of responsibility, trust and
vital, necessary and indispensable to the usual business or confidence. He must be invested with confidence on
trade of the employer. delicate matters such as the custody, handling, care and
p ote tio of the e plo e s p ope t a d/o fu ds. But i
order to constitute a just cause for dismissal, the act
G.R. No. 159371 complained of must be "work-related" such as would show
the employee concerned to be unfit to continue working
It is axiomatic in labor law that the employer who for the employer.
interposes the defense of voluntary resignation of the
employee in an illegal dismissal case must prove by clear, As a selling teller, TTT held a position of trust and
positive and convincing evidence that the resignation was confidence. The nature of her employment required her to
voluntary; and that the employer cannot rely on the handle and keep in custody the tickets issued and the bets
weakness of the defense of the employee. The requirement made in her assigned selling station. The bets were funds
rests on the need to resolve any doubt in favor of the belonging to her employer. Although the act complained of
working man. the unauthorized cancellation of the ticket (i.e.,
unauthorized because it was done without the consent of
The o ke s lai that he had ee led to elie e that the the bettor) was related to her work as a selling teller,
letter would serve only as the means of extending his sick MMM did not establish that the cancellation of the ticket
leave from work should have alerted DDD to the task of was intentional, knowing and purposeful on her part in
proving the voluntariness of the resignation. It was obvious order for her to have breached the trust and confidence
that, if his claim was true, then he did not fully comprehend reposed in her by MMM, instead of being only out of an
the import of the letter, rendering the resignation farcical. honest mistake.
The doubt would then be justifiably raised against the letter
being at all intended to end his employment. Under the
circumstances, DDD became burdened with the obligation G.R. No. 160982
to prove the due execution and genuineness of the
document as a letter of resignation. In this regard, we have to stress that the loss of trust and
confidence as a ground for the dismissal of an employee
must also be shown to be genuine, for, as the Court has
G.R. No. 160982 aptly pointed out: "x x x loss of confidence should not be
simulated in order to justify what would otherwise be,
The valid termination of an employee may either be for just under the provisions of law, an illegal dismissal. It should
causes under Article 282 or for authorized causes under not be used as a subterfuge for causes which are illegal,
Article 283 and Article 284, all of the Labor Code. improper and unjustified. It must be genuine, not a mere
afterthought to justify an earlier action taken in bad faith."
Spe ifi all , loss of the e plo e s t ust a d o fide e is a
just cause under Article 282 (c), a provision that ideally
applies only to cases involving an employee occupying a G.R. No. 160982
position of trust and confidence, or to a situation where the
employee has been routinely charged with the care and The procedure to be followed in the termination of
ustod of the e plo e s o e o p ope t . But the loss employment based on just causes is laid down in Section 2
of trust and confidence, to be a valid ground for dismissal, (d), Rule I of the Implementing Rules of Book VI of the Labor
must be based on a willful breach of trust and confidence Code, to wit:
founded on clearly established facts. "A breach is willful, if it
is done intentionally, knowingly and purposely, without Section 2. Security of Tenure. --
justifiable excuse, as distinguished from an act done xxxx
carelessly, thoughtlessly, heedlessly or inadvertently. It
ust est o su sta tial g ou ds a d ot o the e plo e s (d) In all cases of termination of employment, the following
arbitrariness, whims, caprices or suspicion; otherwise, the standards of due process shall be substantially observed:
employee would eternally remain at the mercy of the
employer." An ordinary breach is not enough. For termination of employment based on just causes as
defined in Article 282 of the Labor Code:
Moreover, the loss of trust and confidence must be related (i) A written notice served on the employee specifying the
to the e plo ees pe fo a e of duties. ground or grounds for termination, and giving said
employee reasonable opportunity within which to explain
his side.
G.R. No. 160982 (ii) A hearing or conference during which the employee
concerned, with the assistance of counsel if he so desires is

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Ponencia by Justice Lucas P. Bersamin, 2017 Bar Chairman

given opportunity to respond to the charge, present his The computation of separation pay and backwages due to
evidence, or rebut the evidence presented against him. illegally dismissed employees should not go beyond the
(iii) A written notice of termination served on the date when they were deemed to have been actually
employee, indicating that upon due consideration of all the separated from their employment, or beyond the date
circumstances, grounds have been established to justify his when their reinstatement was rendered impossible. Anent
termination. In case of termination, the foregoing notices this, the Court has observed:
shall be served on the employee's last known address.
The basis for the payment of backwages is different from
G.R. No. 160982 that for the award of separation pay. Separation pay is
granted where reinstatement is no longer advisable
Confrontation of witnesses is required only in adversarial because of strained relations between the employee and
criminal prosecutions, and not in company investigations the employer. Backwages represent compensation that
for the administrative liability of the employee. should have been earned but were not collected because of
Additionally, actual adversarial proceedings become the unjust dismissal. The basis for computing backwages is
necessary only for clarification, or when there is a need to usuall the le gth of the e plo ees se i e hile that fo
propound searching questions to witnesses who give vague separation pay is the actual period when the employee was
testimonies. This is not an inherent right, and in company unlawfully prevented from working.
investigations, summary proceedings may be conducted.

G.R. No. 161596


G.R. No. 160982
[T]he award of separation pay is inconsistent with a finding
An illegally dismissed employee is entitled to her that there was no illegal dismissal, for under Article 279 of
reinstatement without loss of seniority rights and other the Labor Code and as held in a catena of cases, an
privileges, and to full backwages, inclusive of allowances employee who is dismissed without just cause and without
and other benefits or their monetary equivalent. due process is entitled to backwages and reinstatement or
payment of separation pay in lieu thereof:
In case the reinstatement is no longer possible, however,
an award of separation pay, in lieu of reinstatement, will be Thus, an illegally dismissed employee is entitled to two
justified. The Court has ruled that reinstatement is no reliefs: backwages and reinstatement. The two reliefs
longer possible: (a) when the former position of the illegally provided are separate and distinct. In instances where
dismissed employee no longer exists; or (b) when the reinstatement is no longer feasible because of strained
e plo e s usi ess has losed do ; o he the relations between the employee and the employer,
employer-employee relationship has already been strained separation pay is granted. In effect, an illegally dismissed
as to render the reinstatement impossible. The Court employee is entitled to either reinstatement, if viable, or
likewise considered reinstatement to be non-feasible separation pay if reinstatement is no longer viable, and
because a "considerable time" has lapsed between the backwages.
dismissal and the resolution of the case. In that regard, a
lag of eight years or ten years is sufficient to justify an The o al o se ue es of espo de ts illegal dismissal,
award of separation pay in lieu of reinstatement. then, are reinstatement without loss of seniority rights, and
payment of backwages computed from the time
compensation was withheld up to the date of actual
G.R. No. 161596 reinstatement. Where reinstatement is no longer viable as
an option, separation pay equivalent to one (1) month
Although the decision of the DOLE Secretary dated salary for every year of service should be awarded as
December 5, 1991 had required employer to reinstate the an alternative. The payment of separation pay is in addition
affected workers to their former positions with full to payment of backwages.
backwages reckoned from December 8, 1989 until actually
reinstated without loss of seniority rights and other
benefits, the reinstatement thus decreed was no longer G.R. No. 162385
possible. Hence, separation pay was instead paid to them.
This alternative was sustained in law and jurisprudence, for The onus of proving that an employee was not dismissed
"separation pay may avail in lieu of reinstatement if or, if dismissed, his dismissal was not illegal fully rests on
reinstatement is no longer practical or in the best interest the employer, and the failure to discharge the onus would
of the parties. Separation pay in lieu of reinstatement may mean that the dismissal was not justified and was illegal.
likewise be awarded if the employee decides not to be
reinstated." Employer tendered no showing outside of his mere
allegations to substantiate his averment of abandonment
by employee. Moreover, although employee had
G.R. No. 161596 undoubtedly stopped working, his doing so had been for a
justifiable reason, consisting in the non-payment of his

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salary since November and his being forced to stop working effects of the termination pending resolution of the dispute
to enable him to seek employment elsewhere, albeit in the event of a prima facie finding by the appropriate
temporarily, in order to survive. official of the Department of Labor and Employment before
whom such dispute is pending that the termination may
cause a serious labor dispute or is in implementation of a
G.R. No. 162385 mass lay-off.

Under Article 282(c) of the Labor Code, an employer may The requirement was also imposed in the Implementing
te i ate a e plo ees e plo e t o the g ou d of the Rules of the Labor Code.
latte s f aud o illful ea h of the t ust a d o fidence The first written notice would inform AAA of the particular
reposed in him. For loss of trust and confidence to acts or omissions for which his dismissal was being sought.
constitute a sufficient ground for termination, the employer The second written notice would notify him of the
must have a reasonable ground to believe, if not to e plo e s de isio to dis iss hi . But the se o d itte
entertain the moral conviction, that the employee was notice must not be made until after he was given a
responsible for the misconduct, and that the nature of his reasonable period after receiving the first written notice
participation therein rendered him absolutely unworthy of within which to answer the charge, and after he was given
the trust and confidence demanded by his position. the ample opportunity to be heard and to defend himself
with the assistance of his representative, if he so desired.
The requirement was mandatory.
We note that AAA was a managerial employee whom BBB
had vested with confidence on delicate matters, such as the AAAs e eipt of the de a d lette f o SM to etu the
custod , ha dli g, a e a d p ote tio of SMs p ope ties money was certainly not even a substantial compliance
and funds, as well as its operations and transactions in with the twin-notice requirement, because the purpose of
Region VIII. AAA was shown to have failed to account for the demand letter was different from those defined for the
a d to tu o e his sales olle tio s. I that ega d, BBBs sending of the required notices. Nor was he thereby
filing of the criminal case against AAA and the public allowed a meaningful opportunity to be heard or to be
p ose uto s fi di g of a p i a fa ie ase fo the offe se notified of his impending termination.
charged after preliminary investigation amounted to
su sta tial e ide e of AAAs ea h of the t ust a d
confidence reposed in him, a just cause to terminate the G.R. No. 163431
employment based on loss of trust and confidence.

Willful disobedience to the lawful orders of an employer is


G.R. No. 162385 one of the valid grounds to terminate an employee under
Article 296 (formerly Article 282) of the Labor Code.
The employer had the obligation to send two written
notices before finally dismissing AAA. Article 277 of the For willful disobedience to be a ground, it is required that:
Labor Code, as amended, enunciated this requirement of (a) the conduct of the employee must be willful or
two written notices, viz: intentional; and
(b) the order the employee violated must have been
Article 277. Miscellaneous provisions. x x x reasonable, lawful, made known to the employee, and must
xxxx pertain to the duties that he had been engaged to
(b) Subject to the constitutional right of workers to security discharge.
of tenure and their right to be protected against dismissal
except for a just and authorized cause and without Willfulness must be attended by a wrongful and perverse
prejudice to the requirement of notice under Article 283 of mental attitude rendering the employees a t i o siste t
this Code, the employer shall furnish the worker whose with proper subordination. In any case, the conduct of the
employment is sought to be terminated a written notice employee that is a valid ground for dismissal under the
containing a statement of the causes for termination and Labor Code constitutes harmful behavior against the
shall afford the latter ample opportunity to be heard and to business interest or person of his employer. It is implied
defend himself with the assistance of his representative if that in every act of willful disobedience, the erring
he so desires in accordance with company rules and employee obtains undue advantage detrimental to the
regulations promulgated pursuant to guidelines set by the business interest of the employer.
Department of Labor and Employment. Any decision taken
by the employer shall be without prejudice to the right of
the worker to contest the validity or legality of his dismissal G.R. No. 163431
by filing a complaint with the regional branch of the
National Labor Relations Commission. The burden of The spirit of our Constitution and laws is to lean over
proving that the termination was for a valid or authorized backwards in favor of the working class, and with the
cause shall rest on the employer. The Secretary of the mandate that every doubt must be resolved in their favor.
Department of Labor and Employment may suspend the

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Although we recognize the inherent right of the employer This is because such notice is precisely intended to enable
to discipline its employees, we should still ensure that the the employee not only to prepare himself for the legal
employer exercises the prerogative to discipline humanely battle to protect his tenure of employment, but also to find
and considerately, and that the sanction imposed is other means of employment and ease the impact of the
commensurate to the offense involved and to the degree of loss of his job and, necessarily, his income.
the infraction. The discipline exacted by the employer
should fu the o side the e plo ees le gth of se i e
and the number of infractions during his employment. The G.R. No. 164662
employer should never forget that always at stake in
disciplining its employee are not only his position but also With respect to dismissals for cause under Art. 282, if it is
his livelihood, and that he may also have a family entirely shown that the employee was dismissed for any of the just
dependent on his earnings. causes mentioned in said Art. 282, then, in accordance with
that article, he should not be reinstated. However, he must
be paid backwages from the time his employment was
G.R. No. 164662 terminated until it is determined that the termination of
employment is for a just cause because the failure to hear
Article 282 of the Labor Code enumerates the causes by him before he is dismissed renders the termination of his
which the employer may validly terminate the employment employment without legal effect.
of the employee, viz:

Article 282.Termination by employer. - An employer may G.R. No. 164662


terminate an employment for any of the following causes:
(a) Serious misconduct or willful disobedience by the Under Agabon, the new doctrine is that the failure of the
employee of the lawful orders of his employer or employer to observe the requirements of due process in
representative in connection with his work; favor of the dismissed employee (that is, the two-written
(b) Gross and habitual neglect by the employee of his notices rule) should not invalidate or render ineffectual the
duties; dismissal for just or authorized cause. The Agabon Court
(c) Fraud or willful breach by the employee of the trust plainly saw the likelihood of Serrano producing unfair but
reposed in him by his employer or duly authorized far-reaching consequences, such as, but not limited to,
representative; encouraging frivolous suits where even the most notorious
(d) Commission of a crime or offense by the employee violators of company policies would be rewarded by
against the person of his employer or any immediate invoking due process; to having the constitutional policy of
member of his family or his duly authorized providing protection to labor be used as a sword to oppress
representatives; and the employers; and to compelling the employers to
(e) Other causes analogous to the foregoing. continue employing persons who were admittedly guilty of
misfeasance or malfeasance and whose continued
The CA rightly observed that proof beyond reasonable employment would be patently inimical to the interest of
doubt of her violation of the trust was not required, for it employers.
was sufficient that the employer had "reasonable grounds
to believe that the employee concerned is responsible for
the misconduct as to be unworthy of the trust and G.R. No. 187854
confidence demanded by [her] position."
The essence of due process is to be heard, and, as applied
to administrative proceedings, this means a fair and
G.R. No. 164662 easo a le oppo tu it to e plai o es side, o a
opportunity to seek a reconsideration of the action or ruling
The evidence on record is bereft of any indicia that the two complained of. Administrative due process cannot be fully
written notices were furnished to DJ prior to her dismissal. equated with due process in its strict judicial sense, for in
The various memoranda given her were not the same the former a formal or trial-type hearing is not always
notices required by law, as they were mere internal necessary, and technical rules of procedure are not strictly
correspondences intended to remind DJ of her outstanding applied.
accountabilities to the company. Assuming for the sake of
argument that the memoranda furnished to DJ may have Due process, as a constitutional precept, does not always
satisfied the minimum requirements of due process, still, and in all situations require a trial-type proceeding. Due
the same did not satisfy the notice requirement under the process is satisfied when a person is notified of the charge
Labo Code e ause the i te tio to se e the e plo ees against him and given an opportunity to explain or defend
services must be made clear in the notice. Such was not himself. In administrative proceedings, the filing of charges
apparent from the memoranda. and giving reasonable opportunity for the person so
charged to answer the accusations against him constitute
As the Supreme Court held in Serrano, the violation of the the minimum requirements of due process. The essence of
notice requirement is not strictly a denial of due process. due process is simply to be heard, or as applied to

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ad i ist ati e p o eedi gs, a oppo tu it to e plai o es employed and has not reached 21 of age, or, if over 21
side, or an opportunity to seek a reconsideration of the years of age, is congenitally or while still a minor has been
action or ruling complained of. permanently incapacitated and incapable of self-support,
physically or mentally; and (c) the parent who is receiving
regular support from the member.
G.R. No. 187854
Secondly, Section 4(f) of R.A. No. 7875, as amended by R.A.
"To be heard" does not mean only verbal arguments in No. 9241, enumerates who are the legal dependents, to
court; one may be heard also thru pleadings. Where wit: (a) the legitimate spouse who is not a member; (b) the
opportunity to be heard, either through oral arguments or unmarried and unemployed legitimate, legitimated,
pleadings, is accorded, there is no denial of procedural due illegitimate, acknowledged children as appearing in the
process. birth certificate; legally adopted or step-children below 21
years of age; (c) children who are 21 years old and order
In administrative proceedings, procedural due process has but suffering from congenital disability, either physical or
been recognized to include the following: (1) the right to mental, or any disability acquired that renders them totally
actual or constructive notice of the institution of dependent on the member of our support; and (d) the
p o eedi gs hi h a affe t a espo de ts legal ights; parents who are 60 years old or older whose monthly
(2) a real opportunity to be heard personally or with the income is below an amount to be determined by the
assistance of counsel, to present witnesses and evidence in Philippine Health Insurance Corporation in accordance with
o es fa o , a d to defe d o es ights; 3 a t i u al ested the guiding principles set forth in Article I of R.A. No. 7875.
with competent jurisdiction and so constituted as to afford
a person charged administratively a reasonable guarantee And, thirdly, Section 2(f) of Presidential Decree No. 1146, as
of honesty as well as impartiality; and (4) a finding by said amended by R.A. No. 8291,dependent for support upon the
tribunal which is supported by substantial evidence member or pensioner; (b) the legitimate, legitimated,
submitted for consideration during the hearing or legally adopted child, including the illegitimate child, who is
contained in the records or made known to the parties unmarried, not gainfully employed, not over the age of
affected. majority, or is over the age of majority but incapacitated
and incapable of self-support due to a mental or physical
defect acquired prior to age of majority; and (c) the parents
G.R. No. 192601 dependent upon the member for support.

A collective bargaining agreement (or CBA) refers to the It is clear from these statutory definitions of dependent
negotiated contract between a legitimate labor that the civil status of the employee as either married or
organization and the employer concerning wages, hours of single is not the controlling consideration in order that a
work and all other terms and conditions of employment in a pe so a ualif as the e plo ees legal depe de t.
bargaining unit. As in all contracts, the parties in a CBA may What is rather decidedly controlling is the fact that the
establish such stipulations, clauses, terms and conditions as spouse, child, or parent is actually dependent for support
they may deem convenient provided these are not contrary upon the employee.
to law, morals, good customs, public order or public policy.
Thus, where the CBA is clear and unambiguous, it becomes
the law between the parties and compliance therewith is G.R. No. 192601
mandated by the express policy of the law.
Pursuant to Article 100 of the Labor Code, petitioner as the
Accordingly, the stipulations, clauses, terms and conditions employer could not reduce, diminish, discontinue or
of the CBA, being the law between the parties, must be eliminate any benefit and supplement being enjoyed by or
complied with by them. The literal meaning of the granted to its employees. This prohibition against the
stipulations of the CBA, as with every other contract, diminution of benefits is founded on the constitutional
control if they are clear and leave no doubt upon the mandate to protect the rights of workers and to promote
intention of the contracting parties. their welfare and to afford labor full protection. The
application of the prohibition against the diminution of
benefits presupposes that a company practice, policy or
G.R. No. 192601 tradition favorable to the employees has been clearly
established; and that the payments made by the employer
Social legislations contemporaneous with the execution of pursuant to the practice, policy, or tradition have ripened
the CBA have given a meaning to the term legal dependent. into benefits enjoyed by them.

First of all, Section 8(e) of the Social Security Law provides


that a dependent shall be the following, namely: (a) the G.R. No. 192601
legal spouse entitled by law to receive support from the
member; (b) the legitimate, legitimated, or legally adopted, To be considered as a practice, policy or tradition, however,
and illegitimate child who is unmarried, not gainfully the giving of the benefits should have been done over a

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long period of time, and must be shown to have been (d) commission of a crime or offense by the employee
consistent and deliberate. It is relevant to mention that we against the person of her employer or any immediate
have not yet settled on the specific minimum number of member of her family or her duly authorized
years as the length of time sufficient to ripen the practice, representative; and
policy or tradition into a benefit that the employer cannot (e) other causes analogous to the foregoing.
unilaterally withdraw.

G.R. No. 158583


G.R. No. 157633
The dishonesty imputed to the petitioner included the
As provided in Article 282 of the Labor Code, an employer making of double entries in the production reports and
may terminate an employee for a just cause, to wit: thereby enriching herself by pocketing the extra cash
generated from the double entries.
Art. 282. TERMINATION BY EMPLOYER
Dishonest act(s) committed by the complainant logically
An employer may terminate an employee for any of the triggers an erosion of the trust reposed upon him by his
following causes: employer and jurisprudence is explicit on the point that
when an employee has been guilty of breach of trust or his
(a) Serious misconduct or willful disobedience by the employer has ample reason to distrust him, a labor tribunal
employee of the lawful orders of his employer or cannot deny the employer the authority to dismiss him.
representative in connection with his work;
(b) Gross and habitual neglect by the employee of his
duties; G.R. No. 160107
(c) Fraud or willful breach by the employee of the trust
reposed in him by his employer or duly authorized Separation pay may [also] be awarded to an illegally
representative; dismissed employee in lieu of reinstatement.
(d) Commission of a crime or offense by the employee
against the person of his employer or any immediate Section 4(b), Rule I of the Rules Implementing Book VI of
member of his family or his duly authorized representative; the Labor Code provides the following instances when the
and award of separation pay, in lieu of reinstatement to an
(e) Other causes analogous to the foregoing. illegally dismissed employee, is proper:
(a) when reinstatement is no longer possible, in cases
where the dismissed employee s position is no longer
G.R. No. 157633 available;
(b) the continued relationship between the employer and
Misconduct refers to the improper or wrong conduct that the employee is no longer viable due to the strained
transgresses some established and definite rule of action, a relations between them; and
forbidden act, a dereliction of duty, willful in character, and (c) when the dismissed employee opted not to be
implies wrongful intent and not mere error in judgment. reinstated, or the payment of separation benefits would be
for the best interest of the parties involved.
But misconduct or improper behavior, to be a just cause for
termination of employment, must: In these instances, separation pay is the alternative remedy
(a) be serious; to reinstatement in addition to the award of backwages.
elate to the pe fo a e ofthe e plo ees duties; a d The payment of separation pay and reinstatement are
(c) show that the employee has become unfit to continue exclusive remedies. The payment of separation pay
working for the employer. replaces the legal consequences of reinstatement to an
employee who was illegally dismissed.

G.R. No. 158583


G.R. No. 160827
The just and valid causes for the dismissal of an employee,
as enumerated in Article 282 of the Labor Code, include: The principle of non-diminution of benefits, which has been
incorporated in Article 100 of the Labor Code, forbade N
(a) serious misconduct or willful disobedience by the Inc. from unilaterally reducing, diminishing, discontinuing or
employee of the lawful orders of his employer or eliminating the practice. Verily, the phrase "supplements,
representative in connection with her work; or other employee benefits" in Article 100 is construed to
(b) gross and habitual neglect by the employee of her mean the compensation and privileges received by an
duties; employee aside from regular salaries or wages.
(c) fraud or willful breach by the employee of the trust
reposed in her by her employer or duly authorized With regard to the length of time the company practice
representative; should have been observed to constitute a voluntary

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employer practice that cannot be unilaterally reduced, of the Labor Code requires the reinstatement to be
diminished, discontinued or eliminated by the employer, immediately executory even pending appeal. With its intent
we find that jurisprudence has not laid down any rule being ostensibly to promote the benefit of the employee,
requiring a specific minimum number of years. Article 223 cannot be the source of any right of the
employer to remove the employee should he fail to
immediately comply with the order of reinstatement.
G.R. No. 162021

The grant of a bonus or special incentive, being a G.R. No. 175293


management prerogative, is not a demandable and
enforceable obligation, except when the bonus or special The unjustified refusal of the employer to reinstate the
incentive is made part of the wage, salary or compensation dismissed employee would entitle the latter to the payment
of the employee, or is promised by the employer and of his salaries effective from the time when the employer
expressly agreed upon by the parties. By its very definition, failed to reinstate him; thus, it became the ministerial duty
bonus is a gratuity or act of liberality of the giver, and of the LA to implement the order of reinstatement. The
a ot e o side ed pa t of a e plo ees ages if it is law mandates the prompt reinstatement of the dismissed
paid only when profits are realized or a certain amount of or separated employee, without need of any writ of
productivity is achieved. If the desired goal of production or execution.
actual work is not accomplished, the bonus does not
accrue.
G.R. No. 175293

G.R. No. 172132 The provision of Article 223 is clear that an award for
reinstatement shall be immediately executory even pending
Basic in the realm of labor union rights is that the appeal and the posting of a bond by the employer shall not
certification election is the sole concern of the workers, and stay the execution for reinstatement. The legislative intent
the employer is deemed an intruder as far as the is quite obvious, i.e., to make an award of reinstatement
certification election is concerned. Thus, the petitioner immediately enforceable, even pending appeal. To require
lacked the legal personality to assail the proceedings for the the application for and issuance of a wit of execution as
certification election, and should stand aside as a mere prerequisites for the execution of a reinstatement award
bystander who could not oppose the petition, or even v10uld certainly betray and run counter to the very object
appeal the Med-A ite s o de s elati e to the o du t of and intent of Article 223, i.e., the immediate execution of a
the certification election. reinstatement order. The reason is simple. An application
for a writ of execution and its issuance could be delayed for
numerous reasons. Furthermore, the rule is that all doubts
G.R. No. 172132 in the interpretation and implementation of labor laws
should be resolved in favor of labor.
Article 238-A of the Labor Code, as amended, reads:c

Article 238-A. Effect of a Petition for Cancellation of G.R. No. 195668


Registration. A petition for cancellation of union
registration shall not suspend the proceedings for The essential elements of illegal recruitment committed in
certification election nor shall it prevent the filing of a large scale are:
petition for certification election. (1) that the accused engaged in acts of recruitment and
placement of workers as defined under Article 13(b) of the
xxxx Labor Code, or in any prohibited activities under Article 34
of the same Code;
(2) that the accused had not complied with the guidelines
G.R. No. 175293 issued by the Secretary of Labor and Employment with
respect to the requirement to secure a license or authority
The employer is obliged to reinstate and to pay the wages to recruit and deploy workers; and
of the dismissed employee during the period of appeal until (3) that the accused committed the unlawful acts against 3
its reversal by the higher Court; and that because he was or more persons. In simplest terms, illegal recruitment is
not reinstated either actually or by payroll, he should be committed by persons who, without authority from the
held entitled to the accrued salaries. government, give the impression that they have the power
to send workers abroad for employment purposes.

G.R. No. 175293


G.R. No. 153569
Article 279 of the Labor Code, as amended, entitles an
illegally dismissed employee to reinstatement. Article 223

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To dismiss an employee, the law requires the existence of a Indeed, the employer is not expected to be as strict and
just and valid cause. Article 282 of the Labor Code rigorous as a judge in a criminal trial in weighing all the
enumerates the just causes for termination by the probabilities of guilt before terminating the employee.
employer:
(a) serious misconduct or willful disobedience by the
employee of the lawful orders of his employer or the G.R. No. 160123
latte s ep ese tati e i o e tio ith the e plo ees
work; It is fundamental that in the interpretation of contracts of
(b) gross and habitual neglect by the employee of his employment, doubts are generally resolved in favor of the
duties; worker. It is imperative to uphold this rule herein. Hence,
(c) fraud or willful breach by the employee of the trust any doubt or vagueness in the provisions of the contract of
reposed in him by his employer or his duly authorized employment should have been interpreted and resolved in
representative; favor of NNN.
(d) commission of a crime or offense by the employee
against the person of his employer or any immediate
member of his family or his duly authorized representative; G.R. No. 156635
and
(e) other causes analogous to the foregoing. The right to strike is a constitutional and legal right of all
workers because the strike, which seeks to advance their
right to improve the terms and conditions of their
G.R. No. 153569 employment, is recognized as an effective weapon of labor
in their struggle for a decent existence. However, the right
Where the dismissal is for a just cause, as in the instant to strike as a means for the attainment of social justice is
case, the lack of statutory due process should not nullify never meant to oppress or destroy the employers. Thus,
the dismissal, or render it illegal, or ineffectual. However, the law prescribes limits on the exercise of the right to
the employer should indemnify the employee for the strike.
violation of his statutory rights. The indemnity to be
imposed should be stiffer to discourage the abhorrent Article 263 of the Labor Code specifies the limitations on
practice of "dismiss now, pay later." The sanction should be the exercise of the right to strike, viz.:
in the nature of indemnification or penalty and should
depend on the facts of each case, taking into special Article 263. Strikes, picketing, and lockouts, x x x
consideration the gravity of the due process violation of the
employer. xxxx

(c) In cases of bargaining deadlocks, the duly certified or


G.R. No. 153569 recognized bargaining agent may file a notice of strike or
the employers may file a notice of lockout with the
Fraud or willful breach of trust reposed upon an employee [Department] at least 30 days before the intended date
by his employer is a recognized cause for termination of thereof. In cases of unfair labor practices, the period of
employment and it is not necessary that the employer notice shall be 15 days and in the absence of a duly
should a ait the e plo ees fi al o i tio i the i i al certified or recognized bargaining agent, the notice of strike
case involving such fraud or breach of trust before it can may be filed by any legitimate labor organization in behalf
te i ate the e plo ees se i es. In fact, even the of its members. However, in case of dismissal from
dropping of the charges or an acquittal of the employee employment of union officers duly elected in accordance
therefrom does not preclude the dismissal of an employee with the union constitution and by-laws, which may
for acts inimical to the interests of the employer. constitute union busting, where the existence of the union
is threatened, the 15-day cooling off period shall not apply
To our mind, the criminal charges initiated by the company and the union may take action immediately.
against private respondents and the finding after
preliminary investigation of their prima facie guilt of the (d) The notice must be in accordance with such
offense charged constitute substantial evidence sufficient implementing rules and regulations as the [Secretary] of
to warrant a finding by the Labor Tribunal of the Labor and Employment may promulgate.
existence of a just cause for their termination based on loss
of trust and confidence. The Labor Tribunal need not have (e) During the cooling-off period, it shall be the duty of the
go e fu the as to e ui e p i ate espo de ts o i tio [Department] to exert all efforts at mediation and
of the crime charged, or inferred innocence on their part conciliation to effect a voluntary settlement. Should the
from their release from detention, which was mainly due to dispute remain unsettled until the lapse of the requisite
their posting of bail. number of clays from the mandatory filing of the notice,
the labor union may strike or the employer may declare a
lockout.

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(f) A decision to declare a strike must be approved by a obstructing the free ingress into or egress from the
majority of the total union membership in the bargaining employer's premises for lawful purposes, or from
unit concerned, obtained by secret ballot in meetings or obstructing public thoroughfares. The employment of
referenda called for that purpose. A decision to declare a prohibited means in carrying out concerted actions
lockout must be approved by a majority of the board of injurious to the right to property of others could only
directors of the corporation or association or of the render their strike illegal. Moreover, their strike was
partners in a partnership, obtained by secret ballot in a rendered unlawful because their picketing which
meeting called for that purpose. The decision shall be valid constituted an obstruction to the free use of the employer's
for the duration of the dispute based on substantially the property or the comfortable enjoyment of life or property,
same grounds considered when the strike or lockout vote when accompanied by intimidation, threats, violence, and
was taken. The [Department] may, at its own initiative or coercion as to constitute nuisance, should be regulated. In
upon request of any affected party, supervise the conduct fine, the strike, even if justified as to its ends, could become
of the secret balloting. In every case, the union or the illegal because of the means employed, especially when the
employer shall furnish the [Department] the results of the means came within the prohibitions under Article 264(e) of
voting at least seven days before the intended strike or the Labor Code.
lockout, subject to the cooling-off period herein provided.

xxxx G.R. No. 156635

As a general rule, the mere finding of the illegality of the


G.R. No. 156635 strike does not justify the wholesale termination of the
strikers from their employment. To avoid rendering the
The procedural requirements for a valid strike are, recognition of the workers' right to strike illusory, the
therefore, the following, to wit: responsibility for the illegal strike is individual instead of
(1) a notice of strike filed with the DOLE at least 30 days collective. The last paragraph of Article 264(a) of the Labor
before the intended date thereof, or 15 days in case of ULP; Codedefines the norm for terminating the workers
(2) a strike vote approved by the majority of the total union participating in an illegal strike, viz.:
membership in the bargaining unit concerned, obtained by
secret ballot in a meeting called for that purpose; and Article 264. Prohibited Activities -xxx
(3) a notice of the results of the voting at least seven days
before the intended strike given to the DOLE. These xxxx
requirements are mandatory, such that non-compliance
therewith by the union will render the strike illegal. Any worker whose employment has been terminated as a
consequence of any unlawful lockout shall be entitled to
reinstatement with full backwages. Any union officer who
G.R. No. 156635 knowingly participates in an illegal strike and any worker or
union officer who knowingly participates in the commission
The evident intention of the requirements for the strike- of illegal acts during a strike may be declared to have lost
notice and the strike-vote report is to reasonably regulate his employment status: Provided, That mere participation
the right to strike for the attainment of the legitimate policy of a worker in a lawful strike shall not constitute sufficient
objectives embodied in the law. ground for termination of his employment, even if a
replacement had been hired by the employer during such
lawful strike.
G.R. No. 156635

Art. 264. Prohibited activities. - (a) No labor organization or G.R. No. 156635
employer shall declare a strike or lockout without first
having bargained collectively in accordance with Title VII of Conformably with Article 264, we need to distinguish
this Book or without first having filed the notice required in between the officers and the members of the union who
the preceding Article or without the necessary strike or participate in an illegal strike. The officers may be deemed
lockout vote first having been obtained and reported to the terminated from their employment upon a finding of
[Department], their knowing participation in the illegal strike, but the
members of the union shall suffer the same fate only if they
xxxx are shown to have knowingly participated in the
commission of illegal acts during the strike. Article 264
expressly requires that the officer must have knowingly
G.R. No. 156635 participated in the illegal strike.

Article 264(e) of the Labor Code expressly enjoined the


striking workers engaged in picketing from committing any G.R. No. 156635
act of violence, coercion or intimidation, or from

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Employees' right to exercise their right to concerted


activities should not be defeated by the directive of HHH
Inc. for them to report back to work. Any worker who G.R. No. 156635
joined the strike did so precisely to assert or improve the
terms and conditions of his work. Otherwise, the mere the contents of the notices to be served upon an employee
expediency of issuing the return to work memorandum prior to termination, as follows:
could suffice to stifle the constitutional right of labor to
concerted actions. Such practice would vest in the (1) The first written notice to be served on the employees
employer the functions of a strike breaker, which is should contain the specific causes or grounds for
prohibited under Article 264(c) of the Labor Code. termination against them, and a directive that the
employees are given the opportunity to submit their
written explanation within a reasonable period.
G.R. No. 156635 "Reasonable opportunity" under the Omnibus Rules means
every kind of assistance that management must accord to
For insubordination to exist, the order must be: the employees to enable them to prepare adequately for
(1) reasonable and lawful; their defense. This should be construed as a period of at
(2) sufficiently known to the employee; and least five (5) calendar days from receipt of the notice to
(3) in connection to his duties. give the employees an opportunity to study the accusation
against them, consult a union official or lawyer, gather data
and evidence, and decide on the defenses they will raise
G.R. No. 156635 against the complaint. Moreover, in order to enable the
employees to intelligently prepare their explanation and
As to abandonment, two requirements need to be defenses, the notice should contain a detailed narration of
established, namely: the facts and circumstances that will serve as basis for the
(1) the failure to report for work or absence must be charge against the employees. A general description of the
without valid or justifiable reason; and charge will not suffice. Lastly, the notice should specifically
(2) there must be a clear intention to sever the employer- mention which company rules, if any, are violated and/or
employee relationship. The second element is the more which among the grounds under Art. 282 is being charged
decisive factor and must be manifested by overt acts. against the employees
xxxx
In that regard, the employer carries the burden of proof to
show the employee's deliberate and unjustified refusal to (3) After determining that termination of employment is
resume his employment without any intention of returning. justified, the employers shall serve the employees a written
However, the petitioners unquestionably had no intention notice of termination indicating that: (1) all circumstances
to sever the employer-employee relationship because they involving the charge against the employees have been
would not have gone to the trouble of joining the strike had considered; and (2) grounds have been established to
their purpose been to abandon their employment. justify the severance of their employment.

G.R. No. 156635 G.R. No. 159350

Article 277 (b) of the Labor Code mandates compliance with Article 280 of the Labor Code provides:
the twin-notice requirement in terminating an
employee, viz.: Art. 280. Regular and Casual Employment. - The provisions
of written agreement to the contrary notwithstanding and
Article 277. Miscellaneous Provisions. regardless of the oral agreements of the parties, an
employment shall be deemed to be regular where the
xxxx employee has been engaged to perform activities which are
usually necessary or desirable in the usual business or trade
(b) Subject to the constitutional right of workers to security of the employer except where the employment has been
of tenure and their right to be protected against dismissal fixed for a specific project or undertaking the completion or
except for a just and authorized cause and without termination of which has been determined at the time of
prejudice to the requirement of notice under Article 283 of the engagement of the employee or where the work or
this Code, the employer shall furnish the worker whose service to be performed is seasonal in nature and the
employment is sought to be terminated a written notice employment is for the duration of the season.
containing a statement of the causes for termination and
shall afford the latter ample opportunity to be heard and to An employment shall be deemed casual if it is not covered
defend himself with the assistance of his representative, if by the preceding paragraph: Provided, That, any employee
he so desires, in accordance with company rules and who has rendered at least one year of service, whether
regulations promulgated pursuant to guidelines set by the such service is continuous or broken, shall be considered a
Department of Labor and Employment, x x x regular employee with respect to the activity in which he is

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employed and his employment shall continue while such (d) If serious errors in the findings of facts are raised which
actuallv exists. would cause grave or irreparable damage or injury to the
appellant.
The provision contemplates three kinds of employees,
namely: xxxx
(a) regular employees;
(b) project employees; and
(c) casuals who are neither regular nor project employees. G.R. No. 168749

The nature of employment of a worker is determined by In order to warrant the dismissal of the employee for just
the factors provided in Article 280 of the Labor Code, cause, Article 282 (b) of the Labor Code requires the
regardless of any stipulation in the contract to the contrary. negligence to be gross and habitual. Gross negligence is the
The clause referring to written contracts should be want of even slight care, acting or omitting to act in a
construed to refer to agreements entered into for the situation where there is duty to act, not inadvertently but
purpose of circumventing the security of tenure. Obviously, willfully and intentionally, with a conscious indifference to
Article 280 does not preclude an agreement providing for a consequences insofar as other persons may be affected.
fixed term of employment knowingly and voluntarily Habitual neglect connotes repeated failure to perform
executed by the parties. one's duties for a period of time, depending upon the
circumstances. Obviously, a single or isolated act of
negligence does not constitute a just cause for the dismissal
G.R. No. 159350 of the employee.

A fixed term agreement, to be valid, must strictly conform


with the requirements and conditions provided in Article G.R. No. 170192
280 of the Labor Code. The test to determine whether a
particular employee is engaged as a project or regular Illegal recruitment is committed by a person who: (a)
employee is whether or not the employee is assigned to undertakes any recruitment activity defined under Article
carry out a specific project or undertaking, the duration or 13(b) or any prohibited practice enumerated under Article
scope of which was specified at the time of his 34 and Article 38 of the Labor Code; and (b) does not have a
engagement. There must be a determination of, or a clear license or authority to lawfully engage in the recruitment
agreement on, the completion or termination of the project and placement of workers. It is committed in large scale
at the time the employee is engaged. Otherwise put, the when it is committed against three or more persons
fixed period of employment must be knowingly and individually or as a group.
voluntarily agreed upon by the parties, without any force,
duress or improper pressure being brought to bear upon
the employee and absent any other circumstances vitiating G.R. No. 175869
his consent, or it must satisfactorily appear that the
employer and employee dealt with each other on more or Section 4(c), Rule I, Book III of the Omnibus Rules
less equal terms with no moral dominance whatsoever Implementing the Labor Code relevantly states as follows:
being exercised by the former on the latter. Section 4. Principles in determining hours worked. The
following general principles shall govern in determining
whether the time spent by an employee is considered
G.R. No. 168749 hours worked for purposes of this Rule:
(a) x x x.
Article 223 of the Labor Code pertinently states: (b) x x x.
(c) If the work performed was necessary, or it benefited the
Art. 223. Appeal - Decisions, awards, or orders of the Labor employer, or the employee could not abandon his work at
Arbiter are final and executory unless appealed to the the end of his normal working hours because he had no
Commission by any or both parties within ten (10) calendar replacement, all time spent for such work shall be
days from receipt of such decisions, awards, or orders. Such considered as hours worked, if the work was with the
appeal may be entertained only on any of the following knowledge of his employer or immediate supervisor. (bold
grounds: emphasis supplied)
(d) x x x.
(a) If there is prima facie evidence of abuse of discretion on
the part of the Labor Arbiter;
G.R. No. 175869
(b) If the decision, order or award was secured through
fraud or coercion, including graft and corruption; Retirement is the result of a bilateral act of both the
employer and the employee based on
(c) If made purely on questions of law; and their voluntary agreement that upon reaching a certain age,
the employee agrees to sever his employment. The

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Ponencia by Justice Lucas P. Bersamin, 2017 Bar Chairman

difficulty arises from determining whether the retirement Her position as sales manager did not immediately make
was voluntary or involuntary. The employee's intent is the petitioner a managerial employee. The actual work that
decisive. In determining such intent, the relevant she performed, not her job title, determined whether she
parameters to consider are the fairness of the process was a managerial employee vested with trust and
governing the retirement decision, the payment of confidence.
stipulated benefits, and the absence of badges of
intimidation or coercion.
G.R. No. 177680
In case of early retirement programs, the offer of benefits
must be certain while the acceptance to be retired should We stress that although her supposedly frantic search for
be absolute. The acceptance by the employees gainful employment opportunities elsewhere should be
contemplated herein must be explicit, voluntary, free and considered as inappropriate for being made during office
uncompelled. hours, the same did not constitute willful breach of trust
and confidence of the employer. The loss of trust and
confidence contemplated under Article 282(c) of the Labor
G.R. No. 177680 Code is not ordinary but willful breach of trust. Verily, the
breach of trust is willful if it is intentional, knowing,
In cases of unlawful dismissal, the employer bears the deliberate and without justifiable excuse, as distinguished
burden of proving that the termination was for a valid or from an act done carelessly, thoughtlessly, heedlessly or
authorized cause, but before the employer is expected to inadvertently. Most importantly, the cause of the loss of
discharge its burden of proving that the dismissal was legal, trust must be work-related as to expose the employee as
the employee must first establish by substantial evidence unfit to continue working for the employer.
the fact of her dismissal from employment.

G.R. No. 177875


G.R. No. 177680
Administrative due process simply means the
Article 282(c) of the Labor Code authorizes an employer to opportunity to be heard or to explain one's side, or to seek
dismiss an employee for committing fraud, or for willful a reconsideration of the action or ruling complained of. For
breach of the trust reposed by the employer. However, loss him to insist on a formal trial-type hearing in which he
of confidence is never intended to provide the employer could confront his accusers was bereft of legal basis
with a blank check for terminating its employee. considering that he had been duly notified of the complaint
against him and of the formal hearings conducted. He had
For this to be a valid ground for the termination of the also filed his answer to the complaint and participated in
employee, the employer must establish that: the formal hearings. For sure, the trial- type hearing was
(1) the employee must be holding a position of trust and not indispensable in administrative cases. The requirements
confidence; and of administrative due process were satisfied once the
(2) the act complained against would justify the loss of trust parties were afforded the fair and reasonable opportunity
and confidence. to explain their respective sides.

G.R. No. 177680 G.R. No. 198968

There are two classes of employees vested with trust and Permanent and total disability is defined in Article 198(c )(1)
confidence. of the Labor Code, to wit:
xxxx
To the first class belong the managerial employees or those (c) The following disabilities shall be deemed total and
vested with the powers or prerogatives to lay down permanent:
management policies and to hire, transfer, suspend, lay-off, (1) Temporary total disability lasting continuously for more
recall, discharge, assign or discipline employees or than one hundred twenty days, except as otherwise
effectively recommend such managerial actions. provided for in the Rules.
xxxx
The second class includes those who in the normal and
routine exercise of their functions regularly handle The relevant rule is Section 2, Rule X, of the Rules and
significant amounts of money or property. Cashiers, Regulations implementing Book IV of the Labor Code, which
auditors, and property custodians are some of the states:
employees in the second class. Period of entitlement. - (a) The income benefit shall be paid
beginning the first day of such disability. If caused by an
injury or sickness it shall not be paid longer than J 20
G.R. No. 177680 consecutive days except where such injury or sickness still
requires medical attendance beyond 120 days but not to

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Ponencia by Justice Lucas P. Bersamin, 2017 Bar Chairman

exceed 240 days from onset of disability in which case


benefit for temporary total disability shall be paid. The essential elements of illegal recruitment committed in
However, the System may declare the total and permanent large scale are:
status at anytime after 120 days of continuous temporary (1) that the accused engaged in acts of recruitment and
total disability as may be warranted by the degree of actual placement of workers as defined under Article 13(b ) of the
loss or impairment of physical or mental functions as Labor Code, or in any prohibited activities listed under
determined by the System. Article 34 of the Labor Code;
(2) that she had not complied with the guidelines issued by
the Secretary of Labor and Employment with respect to the
G.R. No. 198968 requirement to secure a license or authority to recruit and
deploy workers; and
While the fact that DDD suffered the disability during the (3) that she committed the unlawful acts against three or
term of his contract was undisputed, it was evident that he more persons.
had filed his complaint for disability benefits before the
company designated physician could determine the nature
and extent of his disability, or before even the lapse of the
initial 120-day period. With DDD still undergoing further
tests, the company-designated physician had no occasion
to determine the nature and extent of his disability upon
which to base DDD's "fit to work" certification or disability
grading. Consequently, the petitioners correctly argued that
DDD had no cause of action for disability pay and sickness
allowance at the time of the filing of his complaint.

G.R. No. 197492

In this case of constructive dismissal, the burden of proof


lies in the petitioner as the employer to prove that the
transfer of the employee from one area of operation to
another was for a valid and legitimate ground, like genuine
business necessity. We are satisfied that the petitioner duly
discharged its burden, and thus established that, contrary
to the claim of the respondents that they had been
constructively dismissed, their transfer had been an
exercise of the petitioner's legitimate management
prerogative.

G.R. No. 197492

The respondents did not show by substantial evidence that


the petitioner was acting in bad faith or had ill-motive in
ordering their transfer. In contrast, the urgency and
genuine business necessity justifying the transfer negated
bad faith on the part of the petitioner.

G.R. No. 197492

The employee who has consented to the company's policy


of hiring sales staff willing to be assigned anywhere in the
Philippines as demanded by the employer's business has no
reason to disobey the transfer order of management.
Verily, the right of the employee to security of tenure does
not give her a vested right to her position as to deprive
management of its authority to transfer or re-assign her
where she will be most useful.

G.R. No. 199497 August 24, 2016

To have knowledge, you must first have reverence for the Lord. (Proverbs 1:7)

COMPILED BY ATTY. R.A.L. CASABAR RESEARCHED BY J. MANINGDING