In just a year, my employers decided to terminate my services because they learned that I am in a relationship with their 15-year-old daughter, who is eight years my junior. In fact, they had me incarcerated and filed a criminal case of consented abduction against me after discovering that when their daughter ran away from their house, she decided to stay in my place. Can they terminate my employment on the basis of the criminal charge they had filed?
Please be informed that under Article 288 of the Labor Code, the following are considered just causes for which the services of an employee may be terminated, to wit:
Article 288. Termination by employer – An employer may terminate an employment for any of the following causes:
(1) Serious misconduct or willful disobedience by the employee of the lawful orders of his employer or representative in connection with his work;
(2) Gross and habitual neglect by the employee of his duties;
(3) Fraud or willful breach by the employee of the trust reposed in him by his employer or duly authorized representative;
(4) 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
(5) Other causes analogous to the foregoing. [Emphasis supplied]
Furthermore, before an employee may be validly dismissed from work, due process must be observed. Specifically, Article 277 (b) of the Labor Code provides the procedure to be observed in terminating the services of an employee based on just causes, that is:
a. A written notice must be served on the employee specifying the ground or grounds for termination and giving him reasonable opportunity within which to explain his side;
b. A hearing or conference shall be conducted during which the employee concerned, with the assistance of counsel if he so desires, is given an opportunity to respond to the charge, present his evidence or rebut the evidence presented against him; and
c. A written notice of termination must be served on the employee indicating that upon due consideration of all the circumstances, grounds have been established to justify his termination.
Considering the above-stated, provided that they have duly informed you of the reason and their decision to terminate your employment and that you have been given the opportunity to controvert their allegations, the dismissal may stand valid. If, however, you think that any of the above-stated lacks in the process, you may personally lodge your complaint on the matter before the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC).
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.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to email@example.com