These are probably the two most dreadful words any employee fears to hear coming from an employer.
In my profession, however, I hear, see and encounter these words regularly. Worse, almost always, I am personally involved in the whole process leading to the firing, termination or dismissal of an employee. Well, what can I do? It is part of my job.
Anyway, the purpose of this post is to educate and enlighten my readers who would want to know more about what is legal and what is illegal under Philippine laws in relation to the dismissal/termination of one’s employment.
So, you got fired! What’s next?
First, check if the manner on how you were terminated from employment was done properly… meaning in accordance with the guidelines provided for under the Philippine laws. You have to know that there is a proper and legal way of terminating an employee. The Philippine Constitution provides under Section 1, Article III, that:
No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws.”
Just to be clear, if an employer has the right to HIRE an employee, he also has the corresponding right to FIRE an employee. This right, however, is not absolute. It is subject to limitations under the law, employment contract or company policy. The most important words to consider here are DUE PROCESS.
1. Due process simply requires that in case of termination of employment, your employer should have observed the proper process or guidelines in doing so. Due process in termination of employment generally requires a valid cause/reason for termination. Firing an employee for no reason at all is a big NO-NO!
2. Due process requires that the employee must have been given the opportunity to be heard. The employee must be given proper notice (also known as “show cause memo”) and ample opportunity to respond and explain his side. The employee must also be given an opportunity to a hearing or conference. The employee, if he so desires, must be informed of his right to attend the hearing with a representative or lawyer.
Remember that if you receive a notice from your employer asking you to explain the charges against you, make sure you take the opportunity to respond. This is your chance to explain your side of the story and ultimately clear your name. Otherwise, if you ignore the notice given to you, your employer will consider that you have waived your right to be heard. Consequently, they will evaluate the case filed against you based on what evidence they have on hand.
3. Lastly, the employee must be apprised of the decision of the employer whether he is to be dismissed or not to be dismissed. If the decision is to dismiss, the employer must issue the final notice (a.k.a. termination letter/notice of termination) to the employee stating that he is terminated from employment.
If your employer failed to follow these procedures in the termination of your employment, you may have a valid ground or reason to file an illegal dismissal case with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). To learn more about DOLE, you can visit this website.
These are the fundamental things you have to consider in case you were terminated from your job, service or employment. It truly pays to know your rights as an employee. If you feel that your termination is not proper and that you can support your claims against your employer, you have the option to file an illegal dismissal case. On the other hand, if you were terminated for a valid cause and you honestly acknowledge your fault, take it as a hard lesson learned. Use the learning experience to your advantage and strive to be a better employee to your future employer.
Let me know if you want to discuss any specific topic related to termination or dismissal from employment. I will be glad to provide relevant information and also share helpful tips and actual cases I have handled in the past that we all can learn a lot from!
Until next time!
For my other legal posts, you may also read the following: