Staying single as condition for continued employment

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Persida Acosta

Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
My sister is employed as a make-up artist in a salon franchise establishment for almost three years. When her employer recently found out that she was planning to marry her boyfriend, she was informed that it can affect her employment since they require their make- up artists to be single, allegedly as stated in her employment contract.

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I now ask if my sister’s employer can legally prohibit her from marrying as a condition of her employment? I hope you can give us legal advice on this issue. Thank you and more power.
Mauricio

Dear Mauricio,
The decision of your sister’s employer to prohibit her from marrying as a condition for her continuous employment is a clear violation of labor law. According to the Labor Code of the Philippines:

“ART. 136. Stipulation against marriage. – It shall be unlawful for an employer to require as a condition of employment or continuation of employment that a woman employee shall not get married, or to stipulate expressly or tacitly that upon getting married, a woman employee shall be deemed resigned or separated, or to actually dismiss, discharge, discriminate or otherwise prejudice a woman employee merely by reason of her marriage.”

The above cited law is self-explanatory and stresses that marriage cannot be used as a condition or criteria in the employment of a woman. This stipulation against marriage as a condition for employment is a clear discrimination against women and is considered illegal even if agreed upon by the employer and employee. (Cesario A. Azucena, Jr., Everyone’s Labor Code 2007) Thus, the provision in the employment contract of your sister which prohibits her from marrying is illegal and not binding.

The general policy on the prohibition of stipulation against marriage for employment is further highlighted by a Supreme Court decision which ruled that a female employee cannot even be removed from work by mere false statement of her civil status in her application sheet (PT&T vs NLRC, G.R. No. 118978 May 23, 1997).

According to the Supreme Court, if the employer insists that its employees be prohibited from marrying, they have to show that there is reasonable necessity to implement such policy based from the nature of the work of the employees and failure to do so will render such policy illegal (Star Paper Corporation vs. Simbol, G.R. No. 164774, April 12, 2006). Therefore, in your sister’s case, it is up to her employer to prove reasonable necessity of such policy, otherwise its implementation is without legal basis and the employer can be held liable for violation of labor laws should they insist to enforce it against her.

Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.

We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.

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