Fixed Term Employment Contract (Reposted)

What is a fixed-term employment contract and when is it considered valid? The Supreme Court had occasion to tackle these questions in the case of Cherry J. Price, et al. versus INNODATA Phils. Inc., et al., (G.R. No. 178505), promulgated on September 30, 2008. Continue reading “Fixed Term Employment Contract (Reposted)”

Merchandising Representatives as Fixed-Term Employees

A month ago the Philippine Supreme Court promulgated a very interesting decision that has to do with trade merchandising representatives as fixed term and/or project employees. The case is Fontera Brands Phils., Inc. vs. Leonardo Largado and Teotimo Estrellado (G.R. No. 205300, March 18, 2015). Continue reading “Merchandising Representatives as Fixed-Term Employees”

Security Guards on Floating Status

In the recent case of Exocet Security and Allied Services Corp. and/or Ma. Teresa Marcelo vs. Armando D. Serrano (G.R. No. 198538, September 29, 2014) the Supreme Court clarified some of the rules concerning security guards on floating status. I have taken the liberty of summarising these rules, but I have more or less followed the exact words of the Supreme Court in the decision.

1. The “floating status” or temporary “off-detail” of security guards employed by private security agencies is a form of temporary retrenchment or lay-off. The concept has been defined as that period of time when security guards are in between assignments or when they are made to wait after being relieved from a previous post until they are transferred to a new one. It takes place when the security agency’s clients decide not to renew their contracts with the agency, resulting in a situation where the available posts under its existing contracts are less than the number of guards in its roster. It also happens in instances where contracts for security services stipulate that the client may request the agency for the replacement of the guards assigned to it, even for want of cause, such that the replaced security guard may be placed on temporary “off-detail” if there are no available posts under the agency’s existing contracts. Continue reading “Security Guards on Floating Status”

Productivity Standards

Can you dismiss an employee on the basis of failure to meet sales or work quotas? The Supreme Court answered this question in the affirmative in ARMANDO ALILING, Petitioner, vs. JOSE B. FELICIANO, MANUEL F. SAN MATEO III, JOSEPH R. LARIOSA, and WIDE WIDE WORLD EXPRESS CORPORATION, Respondents. (G.R. No. 185829; April 25, 2012).

In Lim v. National Labor Relations Commission,35 the Court considered inefficiency as an analogous just cause for termination of employment under Article 282 of the Labor Code:

We cannot but agree with PEPSI that “gross inefficiency” falls within the purview of “other causes analogous to the foregoing,” this constitutes, therefore, just cause to terminate an employee under Article 282 of the Labor Code. One is analogous to another if it is susceptible of comparison with the latter either in general or in some specific detail; or has a close relationship with the latter. “Gross inefficiency” is closely related to “gross neglect,” for both involve specific acts of omission on the part of the employee resulting in damage to the employer or to his business. In Buiser vs. Leogardo, this Court ruled that failure to observed prescribed standards to inefficiency may constitute just cause for dismissal. (Emphasis supplied.)

It did so anew in Leonardo v. National Labor Relations Commission36 on the following rationale:

An employer is entitled to impose productivity standards for its workers, and in fact, non-compliance may be visited with a penalty even more severe than demotion. Thus,

 [t]he practice of a company in laying off workers because they failed to make the work quota has been recognized in this jurisdiction. (Philippine American Embroideries vs. Embroidery and Garment Workers, 26 SCRA 634, 639). In the case at bar, the petitioners’ failure to meet the sales quota assigned to each of them constitute a just cause of their dismissal, regardless of the permanent or probationary status of their employment. Failure to observe prescribed standards of work, or to fulfill reasonable work assignments due to inefficiency may constitute just cause for dismissal. Such inefficiency is understood to mean failure to attain work goals or work quotas, either by failing to complete the same within the allotted reasonable period, or by producing unsatisfactory results. This management prerogative of requiring standards may be availed of so long as they are exercised in good faith for the advancement of the employer’s interest. (Emphasis supplied.)

 In fine, an employee’s failure to meet sales or work quotas falls under the concept of gross inefficiency, which in turn is analogous to gross neglect of duty that is a just cause for dismissal under Article 282 of the Code. However, in order for the quota imposed to be considered a valid productivity standard and thereby validate a dismissal, management’s prerogative of fixing the quota must be exercised in good faith for the advancement of its interest.

Worth reiterating is the employer’s duty to prove that it exercised its prerogative of fixing the quota in good faith; otherwise, it might not be able to successfully claim that the dismissal was legal.

Termination of Probationary Employment (1)

Chronic Tardiness; Reasonable Standards for Regularization; No Notice and Hearing Required for Termination

Mylene was employed as a trainee-teller by a bank under a six-month probationary employment contract. She was almost always late, so the bank sent her a memorandum directing her to explain why she should not be subjected to disciplinary action for “chronic tardines” (8 times in one month). Another memorandum was sent to her directing her to explain why she should not be suspended for “chronic tardiness” on 13 occasions in one month. In her written explanations to both memoranda, she practically admitted the charges against her. She was suspended for 3 days without pay, but before the 3 days were over the suspension was lifted and her employment was instead terminated. This happened before the six-month probationary period was over. She filed a case for illegal dismissal against the bank. Continue reading “Termination of Probationary Employment (1)”

Stress and Law Practice

First of all, happy new year to everyone!

Recently, I’ve been thinking about the stress that I sometimes experience in law practice, so I tried surfing the web for some ideas on how to deal with it. I came across an article which I found very helpful. I wanted to thank the author but as far as I can tell there was no provision for comments by readers. Anyway, I’m taking the liberty of posting here a quote from said web article as well as the link to it.

Since law school the complicated issues of family law piqued my interest. When I started my practice, I felt that I should practice in several diverse areas such as real estate, criminal, and even personal injury. However, it was the family law cases that interested and motivated me. I received the greatest satisfaction when helping a client. It took me several years to discover this and realize that what really matters is doing what I enjoy and in an area in which I am truly interested. I learned that there were other areas of law in which I could earn more money or get more recognition, but which in my case, provided little satisfaction. I then made the important decision to limit my practice to family law with the attendant areas of guardianship, wills, trusts, and serving as a Guardian Ad Litem. By limiting my practice, I became knowledgeable in specific areas of law and soon discovered that focusing on one area, and knowing it well, allowed me to become more creative in my work. My mind was not continuously racing to become proficient in many topics, and as a result, the amount of stress I had to endure decreased.

In my case, obviously, it’s labor law I’ve been focusing on. Here’s the link.

Time Cards and Dismissal

Can an employee be dismissed if he punches in not only his time card but also the time cards of his co-employees? The answer to this question may be found in the case of SAN MIGUEL CORPORATION vs. THE NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, PEDRO B. DELEN, FELIPE P. MERCADO, ROGELIO Z. MISOLAS, HENRY S. LOGAN & EFREN M. QUERUBIN (G.R. No. 82467 June 29, 1989). Continue reading “Time Cards and Dismissal”

USLS & UNOR 2009 Bar Passers

Congratulations to the new lawyers from USLS and UNO-R!

From USLS (thanks to Atty. Ralph Sarmiento for the info):

1. CRISTALES, Inban Q.
2. DEPASUCAT, Hope Marey B.
3. ENRILE, Christy Irene D.
4. GENTUGAYA, Norman Vincent O.
5. GUANZON, Kathlyn Joy M.
6. JAVELLANA, Gerardo B.
7. KATALBAS, Jubert P.
8. LIM, Elnathan C.
10. ORTEGA, Sarah T.
11. PLOTEÑA, Vivian T.
12. PRADAS, Liza D.
13. SACRAMENTO, Allan M.
14. VILLASTER, Michael Hanz D.

From UNO-R (Thanks to Atty. Jan Anthony Saril for the info):

Romella Amarilla, Edward Joseph Cuansing,
Auxilliador Avitus Dofelix, Jufran Gamboa, Elnora Orola-Abaygar, Nelsie
Patalita-Arcolas, Anabelle Palic and April Joan Pico-Elumba.

NOTE: the info above was simply copied from Facebook and pasted here.

Labor Law: Cashiers Beware!

The case EATS-CETERA FOOD SERVICES OUTLET and/or SERAFIN RAMIREZ, versus MYRNA B. LETRAN and MARY GRACE ESPADERO, (G.R. No. 179507, October 2, 2009) involves a cashier whose time card was punched in by someone else. She failed to report this incident to her supervisor, for which reason she was eventually dismissed. One wonders whether such a minor matter could be a just cause for dismissal, but so it is! And the crucial factor here is her position as cashier. Continue reading “Labor Law: Cashiers Beware!”