Whenever I explain to Clients that under the Labor Code of the Philippines, in all cases of termination of employees, there is a need to comply with the twin requirements of notice and hearing, it is on the part of “hearing” requirement that I would always get a reaction, like—-a big “WHAT?” I understand the sentiments; after all, the work place is not a court room.
So, how can this hearing requirement be complied with? In the En Banc case of Felix B. Perez and Amante G. Doria vs. Philippine Telegraph And Telephone Company and Luis Santiago (G.R. No. 152048 , April 7, 2009), the Honorable Supreme Court laid down the guiding principles in connection with the hearing requirement in all dismissal cases, thus:
“In sum, the following are the guiding principles in connection with the hearing requirement in dismissal cases:
(a) “ample opportunity to be heard” means any meaningful opportunity (verbal or written) given to the employee to answer the charges against him and submit evidence in support of his defense, whether in a hearing, conference or some other fair, just and reasonable way.
(b) a formal hearing or conference becomes mandatory only when requested by the employee in writing or substantial evidentiary disputes exist or a company rule or practice requires it, or when similar circumstances justify it.
(c) the “ample opportunity to be heard” standard in the Labor Code prevails over the “hearing or conference” requirement in the implementing rules and regulations.”
Easy, right? So, rather than skipping the procedure and exposing yourselves to labor cases, why not comply with the Labor Code patiently. Observing the Labor Code in the work place can save you a lot in litigation expenses.