• Employer can fire worker for just causes

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    Dear PAO,
    I am an employee of a private bank. One of the higher ranking officers in our company talked to me and informed me that they will be terminating my services on account of my habitual tardiness. Our HR officer told me that they will not issue an employment certificate and clearance in my favor and that I will not receive any pay. Is this right? Should I file a complaint against them in DOLE?
    Sincerely,
    M.G.

    Dear M.G.,
    Termination of employment may be initiated by either the employee or the employer. On the part of the employee, he may terminate his services whether such is with just cause or without just cause (Article 285, Labor Code of the Philippines).

    Insofar as the employer is concerned, he may terminate the services of his employee for just causes, such as: (a) Serious misconduct or willful disobedience by the employee of the lawful orders of his employer or representative in connection with his work; (b) Gross and habitual neglect by the employee of his duties; (c) Fraud or willful breach by the employee of the trust reposed in him by his employer or duly authorized representative; (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 representatives; and (e) Other causes analogous to the foregoing (Article 282, id). Employment relationship may likewise be terminated by the employer on the basis of authorized causes, to wit: (a) Installation of labor-saving devices; (b) Redundancy; (c) Retrenchment to prevent losses; (d) Closing or cessation of operation of the establishment or undertaking, unless the closing is for the purpose of circumventing the provisions of Title I, Book VI, Labor Code; or (e) any disease of the employee which is prohibited by law or is prejudicial to his health as well as to the health of his co-employees (Articles 283 and 284, id).

    It may be gainsaid that habitual tardiness may fall under the category of “gross and habitual neglect of duties”, which is a just cause for the termination of employment. Accordingly, your employer may validly end your services with them if it is proven that your tardiness is of such nature. However, your employer must comply with procedural due process. They must give you two written notices before terminating your employment, namely: (1) notice charging you of the particular act or omission which is the ground for your dismissal; and (2) subsequent notice informing you of their final decision to terminate your employment.

    Relative to the assertion of your HR Officer that you will not be issued an employment certificate and clearance and that you will not be given any pay upon your termination, we submit that the same is not conclusively correct. Insofar as the certificate is concerned, we do not see any cogent reason for them to refuse its issuance particularly considering that you are employed by them. Insofar as the clearance is concerned, they may only refuse the issuance thereof if you still have pending tasks or you have yet to properly transmit your work. Otherwise, it is only but right for them to issue such clearance. Insofar as your pay is concerned, you may be able to receive your last salary as well as other outstanding monetary benefits, if there are still any due in your favor. Should your employer refuse to comply with what is incumbent upon them, you may file a complaint before the Department of Labor and Employment.

    We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.

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