Illegal dismissal occurs when security guards who were relieved from duties were not given new assignment.


Respondents, Flores, et al. (Flores, et al.) were security guards previously employed by People’s Security, Inc. (PSI). Flores, et al. were assigned at the various facilities of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) pursuant to a security services agreement between PSI and PLDT. However, PSI’s security services agreement with PLDT was terminated and, accordingly, PSI recalled its security guards assigned to PLDT including Flores, et al.

The Labor Code of the Philippines 2018 Edition by Atty. Villanueva

Flores, et al., together with several other security guards employed by PSI, filed a complaint for illegal dismissal with the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) against PLDT and PSI, claiming that they were PLDT employees. The LA held that they were employees of PLDT and ordered their reinstatement. The NLRC however, set aside the LA Decision. The CA affirmed the NLRC Decision. Ultimately, the SC affirmed the CA.

Thereafter, Flores, et al. were relieved from their respective assignments pursuant to Special Order No. 20031010 issued by the Operations Manager of PSI. Accordingly, Flores and Tapiru filed with the NLRC a complaint for illegal dismissal and non-payment of service incentive leave pay and cash bond, with prayer for separation pay, against PSI and its President Nestor Racho (Racho) [PSI, et al.].

PSI, et al. filed a Motion to Dismiss the complaints for illegal dismissal on the ground of forum shopping. The LA dismissed the case for forum shopping. The NLRC reversed the LA and remanded the case to the LA for further proceedings. The LA required them to submit their position papers.

Flores, et al. claimed that after they were relieved from their assignment in the warehouse in Sta. Ana, Manila they repeatedly reported to PSI’s office for possible assignment, but the latter refused to give them any assignment.

PSI, et al. however, asserted that Flores, et al. were merely relieved from their assignment in the warehouse in Sta. Ana, Manila and that the same was on account of their performance evaluation, which indicated that they were ill-suited for the said assignment. They likewise averred that while Flores, et al. vacated their post pursuant to Special Order No. 20031010, the latter refused to acknowledge receipt of the same. PSI, et al. claimed that Flores, et al., after vacating their posts in the warehouse in Sta. Ana, Manila, no longer reported to PSI’ s premises for their next assignment.

PSI, et al. further pointed out that Flores, et al.’s relief from their last assignment was an exercise of PSI’ s management prerogative to transfer its employees in accordance with the requirements of its business. They also claimed that Flores, et al., in failing to report to PSI’s premises after being relieved from their previous   assignment, had abandoned and effectively resigned from their employment.

LA Ruling:

The LA rendered a Decision finding that Flores, et al. were illegally from their employment and, thus, directing PSI, et al. jointly and severally liable to pay the former separation pay and backwages. The LA dismissed PSI, et al.’ defense of abandonment, ruling that the records do not bear any credible evidence that would warrant such a finding.

NLRC Ruling:

The NLRC reversed the LA. Flores, et al. filed MR but it was denied.

Aggrieved, Flores, et al. filed a petition for certiorari with the CA, maintaining that they were illegally dismissed from their employment and that PSI, et al. failed to substantiate their defense of abandonment.

CA Ruling:

CA rendered the assailed Decision, reversing the NLRC’s Decision.

In finding that Flores, et al. were illegally dismissed, the CA found that PSI, et al. failed to prove that Flores, et al. had abandoned their work and that their defense of abandonment was negated by the filing of a case for illegal dismissal.

The CA likewise opined that PSI, et al. failed to prove that it sent Flores, et al. a written notice asking them to explain their supposed failure to report to work as required under Book V, Rule XIV, Sections 2 and 5 of the Implementing Rules of the Labor Code.

PSI, et al. sought reconsideration of the CA’ s Decision but it was denied by the CA. Hence, the petition before the SC.


Whether or not there is dismissal when the employees alleged to have been refused to be furnished work while employer claims abandonment

Whether or not the claim that security guards were relieved of their assignment negates the claim of illegal dismissal

Whether or not there is illegal dismissal

SC Ruling:

The SC denied the petition.

As a rule, employment cannot be terminated by an employer without any just or authorized cause. No less than the 1987 Constitution in Section 3, Article 13 guarantees security of tenure for workers and because of this, an employee may only be terminated for just or authorized causes that must comply with the due process requirements mandated by law. Hence, employers are barred from arbitrarily removing their workers whenever and however they want. The law sets the valid grounds for termination as well as the proper procedure to take when terminating the services of an employee.

There is no merit to PSI, et al.’s claim that Flores, et al. were not dismissed, but merely relieved from their respective assignments. While it is true that Special Order No. 20031010, which PSI, et al. issued to Flores, et al. indicated that the latter were merely relieved from the warehouse in Sta. Ana, Manila, such fact alone would not negate Flores, et al.’s claim of illegal dismissal. Indeed, Flores, et al. pointed out that after they were relieved from their previous assignment, PSI, et al. refused to provide them with new assignments.

It would be the height of absurdity if PSI would be allowed to escape liability by claiming that Flores, et al. abandoned their work. Considering that there is no showing of a clear, valid and legal cause for the termination of employment, the law considers it a case of illegal dismissal. PSI, et al. miserably failed to prove that Flores, et al. abandoned their work.

Read more on abandonment of work: Guide to Valid Dismissal of Employees Second Edition

Abandonment is a matter of intention and cannot lightly be inferred or legally presumed from certain equivocal acts. For abandonment to exist, two requisites must concur: first, the employee must have failed to report for work or must have been absent without valid or justifiable reason; and second, there must have been a clear intention on the part of the employee to sever the employer-employee relationship as manifested by some overt acts.

After PSI, et al. relieved them from their previous assignment in Sta. Ana, Manila, Flores, et al. were no longer given any assignment. PSI, et al. failed to show that new assignments were given to Flores, et al. and that the latter were informed of the same. As regards the second requisite, suffice it to state that Flores, et al.’s act of filing a complaint for illegal dismissal against PSI, et al. negates any intention on their part to sever the employer-employee relationship.

Moreover, considering the hard times in which we are in, it is incongruous for Flores, et al. to simply abandon their employment after being relieved from their previous assignment. No employee would recklessly abandon his job knowing fully well the acute unemployment problem and the difficulty of looking for a means of livelihood nowadays.

What is more, PSI did not afford Flores, et al. due process. The validity of the dismissal of an employee hinges not only on the fact that the dismissal was for a just or authorized cause, but also on the very manner of the dismissal itself. It is elementary that the termination of an employee must be effected in accordance with law. It is required that the employer furnish the employee with two written notices. Beyond dispute is the fact that no written notice was sent by PSI informing Flores, et al. that they had been terminated due to abandonment of work. This failure on the part of PSI to comply with the twin-notice requirement, indeed, placed the legality of the dismissal in question, at the very least, doubtful, rendering the dismissal illegal.

PSI, et al.’s further claim that Flores, et al.’s belated filing of the complaint of illegal dismissal, almost three years since the time of the dismissal, negated the allegation of illegal dismissal and, on the contrary, showed that Flores, et al. intended to abandon their employment. The foregoing assertion is untenable. In illegal dismissal cases, the employee concerned is given a period of four years from the time of his illegal dismissal within which to institute the complaint. This is based on Article 1146 of the New Civil Code which states that actions based upon an injury to the rights of the plaintiff must be brought within four years.

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