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Q: What are the just causes for the dismissal of an employee?

A:  Under Article 282 of the Labor Code, an employer may terminate an employment for any of the following causes:

(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.

Q:  What are the other authorized causes for the dismissal of an employee?

A:  Under Article 283 of the Labor Code, the employer may also terminate the employment of any employee due to the installation of labor-saving devices, redundancy, retrenchment to prevent losses or the closing or cessation of operation of the establishment or undertaking unless the closing is for the purpose of circumventing the provisions of this Title, by serving a written notice on the workers and the Department of Labor and Employment at least one (1) month before the intended date thereof. In case of termination due to the installation of labor-saving devices or redundancy, the worker affected thereby shall be entitled to a separation pay equivalent to at least his one (1) month pay or to at least one (1) month pay for every year of service, whichever is higher. In case of retrenchment to prevent losses and in cases of closures or cessation of operations of establishment or undertaking not due to serious business losses or financial reverses, the separation pay shall be equivalent to one (1) month pay or at least one-half (1/2) month pay for every year of service, whichever is higher. A fraction of at least six (6) months shall be considered one (1) whole year.

Q:  When is a dismissed employee entitled to separation pay?

A:  The Labor Code requires a valid cause to terminate an employee. If there is no valid cause, there is no valid termination and the employer will be held liable for illegal dismissal.  If the cause of dismissal falls under any of the five circumstances of Article 282, no separation pay shall be given to the dismissed employee. In dismissal cases falling under Article 283, separation pay shall only be required if the dismissal is due to the installation of labor-saving devices or redundancy.  In these two cases, the worker affected thereby shall be entitled to a separation pay equivalent to at least his one (1) month pay or to at least one (1) month pay for every year of service, whichever is higher.

If the dismissal is due to retrenchment to prevent losses or closures or cessation of operations of establishment or undertaking not due to serious business losses or financial reverses the separation pay shall be equivalent to one (1) month pay or at least one-half (1/2) month pay for every year of service, whichever is higher.  In all cases, a fraction of at least six (6) months shall be considered one (1) whole year.

On the other hand if the dismissal is due to retrenchment to prevent losses or closures or cessation of operations of establishment or undertaking due to serious business losses or financial reverses no separation pay shall be given to the dismissed employee.

Q: What are the steps to follow to ensure that the dismissed employee is given due process?

A:  a.  Notice of Dismissal – The employer shall furnish the workers a written notice stating the particular acts or omissions constituting the grounds for his dismissal.  In cases of abandonment of work, the notice shall be served at the worker’s last known address.

b.  Answer – The worker may answer the allegations stated against him in the notice of dismissal within a reasonable period.

c.  Hearing – The employer shall afford the worker ample opportunity to be heard and defend himself with the assistance of his representative, if he so desires.

d.  Notice of decision – The employer shall immediately notify a worker in writing of a decision to dismiss him stating clearly the reasons therefor.

e.  Report on dismissal – The employer shall submit a monthly report to the regional Office having jurisdiction over the place of work, all dismissals effected by him during the month, specifying therein the names of the dismissed workers, the reasons for their dismissal, the dates of commencement and termination of employment, the positions last held by them and such other information as may ber required by the Department of labor for policy guidance and statistical purposes.

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