March 2011 Philippine Supreme Court Decisions on Labor Law and Procedure

Here are selected March 2011 rulings of the Supreme Court of the Philippines on labor law and procedure:

Abandonment; elements. Respondent employee was dismissed by petitioners on the ground of alleged habitual absenteeism and abandonment of work. Jurisprudence provides for two essential requirements for abandonment of work to exist: (1) the failure to report for work or absence without valid or justifiable reason, and (2) clear intention to sever the employer-employee relationship manifested by some overt acts should both concur.  Further, the employee’s deliberate and unjustified refusal to resume his employment without any intention of returning should be established and proven by the employer. The Court held that petitioners failed to prove that it was respondent employee who voluntarily refused to report back for work by his defiance and refusal to accept the memoranda and the notices of absences sent to him.  Petitioners failed to present evidence that they sent these notices to respondent employee’s last known address for the purpose of warning him that his continued failure to report would be construed as abandonment of work.  Moreover, the fact that respondent employee never prayed for reinstatement and has sought employment in another company which is a competitor of petitioners cannot be construed as his overt acts of abandoning employment.  Neither can the delay of four months be taken as an indication that the respondent employee’s filing of a complaint for illegal dismissal is a mere afterthought.  Records show that respondent employee attempted to get his separation pay and alleged commissions from the company, but it was only after his requests went unheeded that he resorted to judicial recourse. Harpoon Marine Services, Inc., et al. v. Fernan H. Francisco, GR No. 167751, March 2, 2011.

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