I was terminated from my work as a service crew in a fastfood joint. In one of our conversations, my supervisor told me that the company simply had “to let me go.” Is it possible for me to file a case for illegal dismissal?
Private employers are not prohibited from terminating the employment contract of their employees. In the same manner, employees are also allowed to terminate their contracts with the company they are working with. However, it should be emphasized that there must be a legal basis for the termination of such contract and the same must be done in a lawful manner.
In your situation, we do not discount the fact that your employer has the right to terminate your employment. But such right is not without limitation. As we have already mentioned, it is necessary that there must be a legal basis for such termination, that is, it should be based on one of the grounds for termination as stated in your employment contract or in the company policy.
If the employment contract or the company policy does not provide for said grounds, your termination must be anchored on any of the just or authorized causes stated under the Labor Code. As can be gleaned under Article 282 of the said code, the following are considered as just causes for termination: (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 of duty 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 representative; and (e) Other causes analogous to the foregoing. On the other hand, the following are considered as authorized causes for termination: (1) Installation of labor-saving devices; (2) Redundancy; (3) Retrenchment to prevent losses; (4) Closing or cessation of business; and (5) Disease of the employee whose continued employment is prohibited by law or is prejudicial to his health as well as the health of his employees (Articles 283 and 284, Labor Code).
In addition, your company should have given you proper notice prior to your termination. If your termination is based on a just cause, they should have given you a written notice informing you of the ground for your dismissal as well as a subsequent notice informing you of their final decision to terminate your employment. If the termination is based on any of the grounds set under Article 283 of the Labor Code, they should have served you and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) with a written notice at least one month before the intended date of such termination.
If your termination is not consistent with the above-stated rules, it may be said that your termination is not lawful. Consequently, you may file a complaint for illegal dismissal before the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC).
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.