Just Causes For Terminating Employees In The Philippines

In a previous article, we classified the causes for terminating employees in the Philippines as Just and Authorized Causes.  We now give focus to the Just Causes.

A Just cause is an act attributable to the employee which results in his termination.  These causes are normally attended by gravity of the act and willful intent of the employee.  Enumerated as just cause for termination are: a) serious misconduct, b) willful disobedience to lawful orders, c) gross and habitual neglect of duties, d) fraud or willful breach of trust and/or loss of confidence; e) commission of a crime or offense, and f) other analogous causes.


Serious misconduct is inappropriate behavior willfully committed by an employee, which is grave in nature and results to a risk in the reputation or productivity of the company.  The wrongful behavior is characterized by willful intent, and not by mere inadvertent error.


Willful disobedience to lawful orders is described as a transgression of established rules in the workplace.  The rules or orders must be lawful and reasonable, known by the employee, and must pertain to the duties which he has been assigned to discharge.


Gross and habitual neglect of duties implies a repeated failure to perform one’s duties.  Normally, isolated acts of negligence do not count as a cause for termination.  However, a single act of negligence which is grossly damaging to the employer may qualify as a cause for terminating the employee.


Fraud or willful breach of trust and/or loss of confidence is a cause often associated with the dismissal of employees holding managerial or fiduciary posts.  Fraud is an act or omission calculated to deceive another to one’s advantage.  Breach of trust is a violation of the trust and confidence given to an employee.  To be a cause for termination, the fraud or breach of trust must be in connection to the work of the employee and must result in the loss of confidence in him by his employer.


Commission of a crime or offense as a just cause for terminating employees is limited to those which are committed against the employer or any member of his immediate family.  Immediate family includes the spouse, ascendants, descendants, legitimate, natural or adopted siblings of the employer.  Also included are the relatives of the employer by affinity in the same degrees and those by consanguinity within the 4th civil degree.

Analogous cases do not have a definite meaning but is used as a catch-all classification of other just causes of termination.  It covers all unacceptable norms in a work environment which jeopardizes the business and the employment relationship. Samples include gross inefficiency and conflict of interest.

Who Is A Regular Employee?

iStock_000020067800XSmall2-emp-evalIn a very simple language, an employee is any person in the employ of another, who works for another whether it is for a specific job or not, and receives wages, salary or remuneration.

There are different kinds of employees and one of which is a regular employee. The term “regular” means usual, normal or habitual. Logically, a regular employee is someone who does his work in a usual manner. This description is somewhat similar to the labor law definition yet giving more emphasis to whether the nature of the job of an employee is reasonably connected or has something to do with the business of the employer.

Regular Employee Defined

The Labor Code of the Philippines defines a regular employee by specifying its two (2) kinds, namely:

  1. those who are engaged to perform activities which are usually necessary or desirable in the usual business or trade of the employer; and
  2. those casual employees who have rendered at least one year of service, whether continuous or broken, with respect to the activity in which they are employed.


Let us say that Mario is hired as a factory worker in a shoe maker company. As soon as he was hired in January 2009, he started working as a shoe maker. His work lasts for three months before he got terminated due to less volume of work. Will he be considered a regular employee under the first kind of a regular employee?

The answer is yes. Mario just worked for three months but then he will be deemed to be a regular employee because of the nature of his work making it usually necessary in the usual business of the employer. He is a shoe maker in a company that produces and supplies shoe wear in the market. The length of time for which he has worked is disregarded considering that it is not essential to the first kind of regular employees.

In the same example, let us assume that Mario, after 2 months with no work, was again called for work, but this time, to do carpentry jobs for the same company which lasted from July to November, and another work from January to June and August to December. To add up the period of his work, Mario has worked for 13 months before he got out of work. Is he a regular employee?

Under the second kind of regular employees, he has worked as a carpenter for the same company for the duration of at least (1) year although not continuous. The law only requires employment for at least a year, whether continuous or not continuous, to be considered a regular employee. Further, the law deems repeated and continuing need for its performance as sufficient evidence of the necessity if not indispensability of that activity to the business.  In this case, the period of time worked is necessary in order to know whether an employee will be deemed a regular employee or not.

Based on the discussion above, one can attain a regular employment status either from the nature of his work or the duration of his employment. In either case, an employee can only be terminated for just or authorized cause and after compliance with procedural due process. Otherwise, the employer may be held legally responsible.