Just Causes

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  • P.D. 442, as amended, and Supreme Court Decisions are the bases for just causes.
  • Just causes are grounds for termination of employment.
  • The employer is justified dismissing an employee for just cause.
  • Just causes cover all employees, regardless of rank or status.
  • There are analogous causes to just causes found in Supreme Court Decisions or Jurisprudence.
  • There are standards for each just cause set or prescribed by Supreme Court Decisions or Jurisprudence.
  • If there is no just cause in the termination of employment, the employer may be held liable for illegal dismissal.

Legal basis

The legal basis is the P.D. 442, otherwise known as the Labor Code, and Supreme Court Decisions.

Concept

Just causes are grounds for termination of employment.

It is called just causes because the termination of employment is justified due to an employee’s actions, behavior, or omission, either of which resulted in a serious or grave violation of the law, employment contract, company policies, collective bargaining agreement, and any other employment agreement.

In these situations, and in the exercise of its management prerogative, the employer is justified in imposing the penalty of dismissal on the erring employee.

Coverage

Just causes cover all employees, regardless of rank or status.

Whether rank-and-file, supervisory, managerial in rank, an employee is covered by just causes.

Whether regular, probationary, casual, project, seasonal, or fixed-term, an employee is covered by just causes.

The just causes

The Labor Code provides for the following just causes:

1. Serious misconduct;

2. Willful disobedience of a lawful order;

3. Gross and habitual neglect of duty;

4. Fraud;

5. Willful breach of trust;

6. Commission of a crime against the person of the employer or any immediate member of his family or his duly authorized representatives; and

7. Analogous causes.

Analogous causes refer to similar serious and grave violations/offenses as those listed in Nos. 1 to 6, that would justify the dismissal of an employee. Examples of analogous causes may be found in Supreme Court Decisions or Jurisprudence, such as insubordination, loss of trust and confidence, attitude problem, excessive tardiness or absences, discourteous/impolite remarks against a superior, to name a few. For more detailed discussions, refer to Analogous Causes.

Standards for just causes

Standards have been set or prescribed for each just cause through Supreme Court Decisions and DOLE regulations, such as DOLE Department Order No. 147, series of 2015.

Standards for: Serious misconduct

The standards are:

1. There must be a misconduct;

2. The misconduct must be of such grave and aggravated character;

3. It must relate to the performance of the employee’s duties; and

4. There must be showing that the employee becomes unfit to continue working for the employer.

For more detailed discussions, refer to Serious Misconduct.

Standards for: Willful disobedience

The standards are:

1. There must be disobedience or insubordination;

2. The disobedience or insubordination must be willful or intentional characterized by a wrongful and perverse attitude;

3. The order violated must be reasonable, lawful, and made known to the employee; and

4. The order must pertain to the duties which he has been engaged to discharge.

For more detailed discussions, refer to Willful disobedience.

Standards for: Gross and habitual neglect of duty

The standards are:

1. There must be a neglect of duty; and

2. The negligence must be both gross and habitual in character.

For more detailed discussions, refer to Gross and habitual neglect of duty.

Standards for: Fraud

The standards are:

1. There must be an act, omission, or concealment;

2. The act, omission, or concealment involves a breach of legal duty, trust, or confidence justly reposed;

3. It must be committed against the employer or his/her representative; and

4. It must be in connection with the employee’s work.

For more detailed discussions, refer to Fraud.

Standards for: Loss of trust and confidence

The standards are:

1. There must be n act, omission or concealment;

2. The act, omission, or concealment justifies the loss of trust and confidence of the employer to the employee;

3. The employee concerned must be holding a position of trust and confidence;

4. The loss of trust and confidence should not be simulated;

5. It should not be used as a subterfuge for causes which are improper, illegal, or unjustified; and

6. It must be genuine and not a mere afterthought to justify an earlier action taken in bad faith.

For more detailed discussions, refer to Loss of trust and confidence.

Standards for: Commission of a crime

The standards are:

1. There must be an act or omission punishable/prohibited by law; and

2. The act or omission was committed by the employee against the person of his employer, any immediate member of his/her family, or his/her duly authorized representative.

For more detailed discussions, refer to Commission of a Crime.

Standards for: Analogous causes

The standards are:

1. There must be an act or omission similar to those specified just causes; and

2. The act or omission must be voluntary and/or willful on the part of the employees.

DO-147 requires that an analogous cause should be expressly specified in the company rules and regulations or policies, to be valid.

For more detailed discussions, refer to Analogous causes.

Consequence if no just cause

If there is no just cause in the termination of employment of an employee, the employer may be held liable for illegal dismissal.

References

  • 1987 Constitution
  • Presidential Decree No. 442, a.k.a. Labor Code
  • DOLE Department Order No. 147, Series of 2015
  • Jurisprudence or Supreme Court Decisions