Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Alert Security & Investigation Agency vs. Saidali Pasawilan, [GR No. 182397, September 4, 2011]

FACTS: Respondents Saidali Pasawilan , aver that because they were underpaid, they filed a complaint for money claims against Alert Security and its President and general manager, petitioner Manuel D. Dasig, before Labor Arbiter Ariel C. Santos. As a result of their complaint, they were relieved from their posts in the DOST and were not given new assignments despite the lapse of six months. They filed a joint complaint for illegal dismissal against petitioners.

ISSUE: Whether or not respondents were illegally dismissed

RULING: Yes. 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.

In the case at bar, respondents were relieved from their posts because they filed with the Labor Arbiter a complaint against their employer for money claims due to underpayment of wages. This reason is unacceptable and illegal. Nowhere in the law providing for the just and authorized causes of termination of employment is there any direct or indirect reference to filing a legitimate complaint for money claims against the employer as a valid ground for termination.

The Labor Code, as amended, enumerates several just and authorized causes for a valid termination of employment. An employee asserting his right and asking for minimum wage is not among those causes. Dismissing an employee on this ground amounts to retaliation by management for an employee's legitimate grievance without due process. Such stroke of retribution has no place in Philippine Labor Laws.

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