Although labor law is based on social justice, it does not necessarily mean that the employer is left to its own devices. The Supreme Court itself has repeatedly mandated that injustice should not be done to the employer:[1]“We cannot simply tolerate injustice to employers if only to protect the welfare of undeserving employees.”[2]

Valiao v. The Hon. Court of Appeals
G.R. No. 146621, 30 July 2004

“Needless to say, so irresponsible an employee like petitioner does not deserve a place in the workplace, and it is within the management’s prerogative… to terminate his employment. Even as the law is solicitous of the welfare of employees, it must also protect the rights of an employer to exercise what are clearly management prerogatives. As long as the company’s exercise of those rights and prerogative is in good faith to advance its interest and not for the purpose of defeating or circumventing the rights of employees under the laws or valid agreements, such exercise will be upheld.”[3](Emphasis supplied.) 

The high tribunal recognizes that social justice “is not one-sided.”[4]While labor law is designed to protect the rights of the employees, the Supreme Court has categorically stated that such law “authorizes neither oppression nor self-destruction of the employer – there may be cases where the circumstances warrant favoring labor over the interests of management but never should the scale be so tilted as to result in an injustice to the employer.”[5]

In sum, labor law may be “tilted” in favor of the employees, it is but a measure of protection against the immense economic advantage wielded by an employer who is accorded the highly discretionary and powerful right called management prerogative.

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[1] Southeastern Shipping v. Federico U. Navarra, G.R. No. 167678, 22 June 2010.

[2] Mansion Printing Center and Clement Cheng v. Diosdado Bitara, Jr., G.R. No. 168120, 25 January 2012.

[3] Rene P. Valiao v. The Hon. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 146621, 30 July 2004.

[4] C. Alcantara & Sons, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, et al., G.R. Nos. 155109, 155135, and 179220, 29 September 2010).

[5] Southeastern Shipping v. Federico U. Navarra, G.R. No. 167678, 22 June 2010.