Library of PH Labor Law

A – Burden of proof

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Summary

▪ Burden of proof shifts between the employer and the employee depending on what is being claimed.

▪ In monetary claims, burden of proof is on the employer if the claims refer to those incurred in the normal course of business, as opposed to those that are not such as requiring overtime work or mandating work on a holiday, rest day, or special non-working day.

▪ In illegal dismissal, burden of proof starts is on the employer to show that the dismissal was valid unless the employer denies the very fact of dismissal, in which case, the burden of proof is shifted to the employee to prove that s/he has been dismissed.

1. Concept

Burden of proof refers to the obligation of a party to show proof to establish a claim. It shifts between the employer and the employee depending on what is being claimed.

2. Monetary claims

In determining the employee’s entitlement to monetary claims, the burden of proof is shifted from the employer or the employee, depending on the monetary claim  sought. (Minsola v. New City Builders, Inc., G.R. No. 207613, 31 January 2018)

a. When on employer

In claims for payment of salary differential, service incentive leave, holiday pay and 13th month pay, the burden rests on the employer to prove payment. This likewise stems from the fact that all pertinent personnel files, payrolls, records, remittances and other similar documents – which will show that the differentials, service incentive leave and other claims of workers have been paid – are not in the possession of the worker  but are in the custody and control of the employer. (Ibid.)

b. When on employee

On the other hand, for overtime pay, premium pays for holidays and rest days, the  burden is shifted on the employee, as these monetary claims are not incurred in the  normal course of business. It is thus incumbent upon the employee to first prove that  he actually rendered service in excess of the regular eight working hours a day, and that  he in fact worked on holidays and rest days. (Ibid.)

3. Illegal dismissal

In illegal dismissal, burden of proof starts is on the employer to show that the dismissal was valid unless the employer denies the very fact of dismissal, in which case, the burden of proof is shifted to the employee to prove that s/he has been dismissed.

a. When on employer

In illegal dismissal cases, the employer bears the burden of proving that the termination was for a valid or authorized cause. (Doctor v. NII Enterprises, G.R. No. 194001, 22 November 2017)

However, if the very fact of dismissal is denied or disputed by the employer, it is the employee who must first establish that s/he has been dismissed by the employer as discussed hereunder.

b. When on employee

In illegal dismissal cases, the burden of proof is on the employer in proving the validity of dismissal. However, the fact of dismissal, if disputed, must be duly proven by the complainant-employee. (Italkarat 18, Inc. v. Gerasmio, G.R. No. 221411, 28 September 2020)

The rule is that one who alleges a fact has the burden of proving it; thus, complainants-employees were burdened to prove their allegation that the employer dismissed them from their employment. It must be stressed that the evidence to prove this fact must be clear, positive and convincing. The rule that the employer bears the burden of proof in illegal dismissal cases finds no application here because the employer denies having dismissed the complainants-employees. (Machica v. Roosevelt Services Center, Inc.,  G.R. No. 168664, 04 May 2006)

To summarize, if the fact of dismissal is disputed, it is the complainant who should substantiate his claim for dismissal and the one burdened with the responsibility of proving that he was dismissed from employment, whether actually or constructively. Unless the fact of dismissal is proven, the validity or legality thereof cannot even be an issue. (Italkarat 18, Inc. v. Gerasmio, supra.)

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References

▪ Jurisprudence or Supreme Court Decisions

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