Almirante: Dismissal without hearing-A A +A
Friday, February 22, 2013
Labor case digest
ON SEPT. 12, 2001, petitioner Flordeliza Maria Reyes-Rayel, a c corporate human resources (CHR) director, was dismissed from the service by respondents Philippine Luen Thai Holdings Corp. and L&T International Group Philippines, Inc. for loss of confidence in her ability to promote their interests.
She filed a complaint for illegal dismissal, praying for separation pay, 13th month pay, moral and exemplary damages and attorney’s fees.
The petitioner claimed, among others, that her dismissal was effected without the observance of due process since she was not afforded a hearing. Does this claim find merit?
The following are the guiding principles in connection with the hearing requirement in dismissal cases:
(a) ‘ample opportunity to be heard’ means any meaningful opportunity (verbal or written) given to the employee to answer the charges against him and submit evidence in support of his defense, whether in a hearing, conference or some other fair, just and reasonable way.
(b) a formal hearing or conference becomes mandatory only when requested by the employee in writing or substantial evidentiary disputes exist or a company rule or practice requires it, or when similar circumstances justify it.
(c) the ‘ample opportunity to be heard’ standard in the Labor Code prevails over the ‘hearing or conference’ requirement in the implementing rules and regulations.
In this case, petitioner’s written response to the Prerequisite Notice provided her with an avenue to explain and defend her side and thus served the purpose of due process.
That there was no hearing, investigation or right to appeal, which petitioner opined to be violation of company policies, is of no moment since the records are bereft of any showing that there is an existing company policy that requires these procedures with respect to the termination of a CHR Director like petitioner or that company practice calls for the same. There was also no request for a formal hearing on the part of petitioner.
As she was served with a notice apprising her of the charges against her and also a subsequent notice informing her of the management’s decision to terminate her services after respondents found her written response to the first notice unsatisfactory, petitioner was clearly afforded her right to due process.
(Flordeliza Maria Reyes-Rayel vs. Philippine Luen Thai Holdings Corp./L&T International Group Philippines, Inc., G.R. No. 174893, July 11, 2012 citing Perez v. Philippine Telgraph and Telephone Company, G.R. No. 152048, April 7, 2009, 584, SCRA 110).
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 23, 2013.