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Feb. 28, 1985
Cuevas, J.:
Private respondents Zenaida Bustamante, Luz Raymundo and Ruth
Corpuz were employees of petitioner, a domestic corporation engaged
in the business of manufacturing and exporting of mens, ladies, and
childrens dresses.
Petitioner filed three (3) applications for clearance to terminate
employment of private respondents on the following grounds:
o Against Ruth Corpuz for allegedly defacing companys property
by placing a check mark on a jacket with a chalk.
o Against Luz Raymundo for insubordination for refusal to work on
her rest day.
o Against Zenaida Bustamante for abandonment for failing to
report for work after the expiration of her suspension.
The three opposed the clearance application and filed separate
complaints for illegal dismissal.
During the period of their employment, Raymundo and Bustamante
were given 3 consecutive warnings for allegedly refusing to render
overtime work. They were penalized with one weeks suspension.
Raymundo was required to work on a Sunday despite her request for
exemption because it was her rest day. Her request was disapproved.
Consequently, she was notified of her dismissal upon expiration of her
Corpuz was also given a warning for refusal to render overtime work.
She was subsequently dismissed for having written a chalk mark on a
nylon jacket for export allegedly in violation of Rule 26 of petitioners
rules and regulations.
The acting director of NCR MOLE issued an order which granted
petitioners application for clearance to terminate the employment of
Respondents appealed to the NLRC. On the other hand, the acting
director elevated the records to the Office of the Minister of Labor.
Minister of Labor reversed the appealed order and directed the
petitioner to reinstate private respondents to their former positions
without loss of seniority rights and privileges and with full backwages.
Petitioners MR denied. Hence, this petition. At this point, case only
concerns Raymundo and Bustamante due to the withdrawal of Corpuz.
WON sufficient legal grounds exist to justify the dismissal of private
respondents Luz Raymundo and Zenaida Bustamante.

While it is true that it is the sole prerogative of the management to
dismiss or lay-off an employee, the exercise of such a prerogative must
be made without abuse of discretion for what is at stake is not only
private respondents positions but also their means of livelihood.

As regards Raymundo who was charged with insubordination, she had

a valid ground not to work on that particular Sunday as she was able to
obtain a clearance slip from her immediate supervisor the day before
allowing her to be absent. Her failure to report cannot be considered as
gross insubordination. Petitioner has not shown that Raymundos
failure to report for work on that Sunday constitutes one of the just
causes for termination under Art. 283 of the LC.

In Zenaidas case, she allegedly abandoned her employment for failing

to report to work after her suspension. Like Raymundo, her suspension
arose from her failure to report for work on that same Sunday. She
explained that she was sick that day as shown by the medical
certificate she submitted. It is a recognized principle that abandonment
of work by an employee is inconsistent with the immediate filing of a
complaint for illegal dismissal, which is what Raymundo did.

Constitution requires the State to assure the workers security of tenure

and just and humane conditions of work. The Labor Code is clear that it
is the duty of every employer, whether operating for profit or not, to
provide each of his employees a rest period of not less than 24 hours
after every 6 consecutive normal work days. Even if there really
existed an urgency to require work on a rest day (which is not in the
instant case), outright dismissal from employment is so severe a
consequence, more so when justifiable grounds exist for failure to
report for work.