1. Regional Director; Jurisdiction over monetary claims; Exceptions clause. The power of the Regional Director to hear and decide the monetary claims of employees is not absolute. The last sentence of Article 128 (b) of the Labor Code, otherwise known as the “exception clause,” provides an instance when the Regional Director or his representatives may be divested of jurisdiction over a labor standards case.
  2. The so-called “exception clause” has the following elements, all of which must concur:

    1. that the employer contests the findings of the labor regulations officer and raises issues thereon;
    2. that in order to resolve such issues, there is a need to examine evidentiary matters; and
    3. that such matters are not verifiable in the normal course of inspection.

    The issue of whether or not petitioners were independent contractors/project employees/free lance workers is a question of fact that necessitates the examination of evidentiary matters not verifiable in the normal course of inspection. Verily, the Regional Director and the Secretary of Labor are divested of jurisdiction to decide the case. (Meteoro, et al. vs. Creative Creatures, Inc., G.R. No. 171275, July 13, 2009.)

  3. Termination by employer; Grounds; Lost of confidence. Loss of confidence applies only to cases involving employees who occupy positions of trust and confidence, or to those situations where the employee is routinely charged with the care and custody of the employer’s money or property. To be a valid ground for an employee’s dismissal, loss of trust and confidence must be based on a willful breach. A breach is willful if it is done intentionally, knowingly and purposely, without justifiable excuse.
  4. In dismissing an employee on the ground of loss of confidence, it is sufficient that the employer has a reasonable ground to believe, based on clearly established facts, that the employee is responsible for the misconduct and the nature of his participation renders him unworthy of the trust and confidence demanded by his position. If the employer has ample reason to distrust the employee, the labor tribunal cannot justly deny the former the authority to dismiss the latter. (Del Rosario vs. Makati Cinema Square Corp., G.R. No. 170014, July 3, 2009.)

  5. Money claims; Application to claims of overseas contract workers. Article 291 covers all money claims from employer-employee relationship and is broader in scope than claims arising from a specific law. It is not limited to money claims recoverable under the Labor Code, but applies also to claims of overseas contract workers. (LWV Construction Corporation vs. Marcelo B. Dupo, G.R. No. 172342, July 13, 2009.)
  6. Voluntary retirement; Acceleration of retirement not necessarily illegal dismissal. Retirement is the result of a bilateral act of the parties, a voluntary agreement between the employer and the employee whereby the latter, after reaching a certain age, agrees to sever his or her employment with the former. Retirement is provided for under Article 287 of the Labor Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 7641, or is determined by an existing agreement between the employer and the employee.
  7. Where the setting of retirement date is clearly under the discretion and prerogative of the management, the exercise thereof by accelerating the retirement date will not amount to illegal dismissal. The exercise of management prerogative is valid provided it is not performed in a malicious, harsh, oppressive, vindictive or wanton manner or out of malice or spite. (Magdadaro vs. PNB, G.R. No. 166198, July 17, 2009.)

  8. Project Employee; Principal test in determining regular status. The principal test for determining whether a particular employee is a project employee or a regular employee is whether the project employee was assigned to carry out a specific project or undertaking, the duration and scope of which were specified at the time the employee is engaged for the project. “Project” may refer to a particular job or undertaking that is within the regular or usual business of the employer, but which is distinct and separate and identifiable as such from the undertakings of the company. Such job or undertaking begins and ends at determined or determinable times.
  9. Ibid; Effect when not continuous rehired. A project employee does not become regular if he was not continuously rehired after the cessation of a project. (Alcatel Philippines, Inc. vs. Relos, G.R. No. 164315, July 3, 2009.)

  10. Probationary employee; Grounds for dismissal. A probationary employee can be legally dismissed either: (1) for a just cause; or (2) when he fails to qualify as a regular employee in accordance with the reasonable standards made known to him by the employer at the start of the employment.
  11. Ibid.; Ibid.; Limitations on employer’s right to dismiss. The power of the employer to terminate the services of an employee on probation is not without limitations. First, this power must be exercised in accordance with the specific requirements of the contract. Second, the dissatisfaction on the part of the employer must be real and in good faith, not feigned so as to circumvent the contract or the law. Third, there must be no unlawful discrimination in the dismissal. In termination cases, the burden of proving just or valid cause for dismissing an employee rests on the employer. (Davao Contractors Development Cooperative vs. Pasawa, G.R. No. 172174, July 9, 2009.)

  12. Notice of strikes; When failure to attached counter-proposal does not render strike illegal. Failure to attached counter-proposal in the notice to strike as required under the Omnibus Rules Implementing the Labor Code does not render the strike illegal if attaching the counter-proposal was, in the first place, not practicable. It was absurd to expect the union to produce the company’s counter-proposal which it did not have. One cannot give what one does not have. Indeed, compliance with the requirement was impossible because no counter-proposal existed at the time the union filed a notice of strike. The law does not exact compliance with the impossible. Nemo tenetur ad impossibile. (Club Filipino, Inc. vs. Bautista, G.R. No. 168406, July 13, 2009.)

Last Edited: Friday, August 19, 2011

Caveat: Subsequent court and administrative rulings, or changes to, or repeal of, laws, rules and regulations may have rendered the whole or part of this article inaccurate or obsolete.
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