Agent wins Labor case after being terminated due to his failure to pass Performance Management
On August 16, 2012 Mr. Oliver Cruz filed a complaint against VXI Global Holding, Inc./ Mr. Paul Birdseye, Et, Al. for actual illegal dismissal, non-payment of: salary, rest day premium, service incentive leave, 13th month pay, separation pay and night differential; damages and attorney’s fees.
On April 17, 2007 Mr. Cruz was hired as Sales Verifier and was appointed as Quality Assurance Analyst on February 1, 2010. Then on September 23, 2011 Mr. Cruz was assessed by his then supervisor Jayson Cruz, as needing to improve his performance in specified areas of his duties. December 30, 2011 Mr. Oliver Cruz was notified about his dozing off during work hours. Mr. Cruz then agreed to undergo the six-week performance improvement and evaluation program, resulting only to a 75% actual score, short of the 95% passing target.
VXI, on the other hand, argue that Mr. Oliver Cruz was legally dismissed from employment because of his failure to comply with the company standards. It is well to note that Mr. Cruz was placed on QAPA or performance evaluation which stated the standards that he has to meet. The said QAPA provided that the failure of Mr. Cruz to meet the standards stated therein will merit the sanction provided in the Code of Conduct and Discipline of the company. As discussed by Mr. Roy Dennis D. Manalili, Mr. Cruz actually failed and continued to fail the required metrics stated in the policy and this is a reasonable practice in view of VXI’s business needs as well as the nature of its business being a call center of business process outsourcing (BPO).
Was Mr. Oliver Cruz illegally dismissed from employment?
Is he entitled to his monetary claims?
Resolving the first issue, the office finds and holds Mr. Cruz was illegally dismissed from employment. As a regular employee, he was entitled to full tenure rights under (Art. 279 now Art. 285) of the Labor Code which provides that: “In cases of regular employment, the employer shall not terminate the services of an employee except for a just cause or when authorized by his Title”.
The right to security of tenure is one of the cardinal rights not only recognized, but in fact guaranteed, by the Philippine Constitution and the Labor Code to all workers. Ideally, the security of tenure means that the worker has the right to continue working with the employer from the date he is employed or appointed up to the date he resigns, retires or dies. However, the right to security of tenure yields to the reality that his employment may be cut short by the closure, manpower downsizing or operational modernization of the employer’s business or by his dismissal for a just cause/s or by his dismissal of a disease. It may also be cut short when his probationary ends and he is not appointed as a regular employee, or when his fixed-term, project contract, seasonal or casual employment ends.
In the present case, Mr. Cruz, after failing a six-week performance improvement and evaluation program, was dismissed caused by gross and habitual neglect of duties. It is a considered judgement that failing a required performance improvement and evaluation program cannot constitute a gross and habitual neglect of duties as to warrant a valid dismissal from employment. It was noted too, that during the period, Mr. Cruz committed no neglect of duty that may be reasonably characterized as gross nor was there any such supposed neglect that had been committed habitually. There existed, therefore, no just cause to dismiss Mr. Cruz from employment, much less a gross and habitual neglect of his duties.
Anent compliance with due process it is clear in the records of the case that the complainant was dismissed from employment without the company formally charging him of gross and habitual neglect of duties and requiring him to explain and justify why he should not be dismissed for committing the charge. His right to procedural due process was, therefore, violated.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the judgement hereby made, finding and holding Mr. Cruz was illegally dismissed. VXI Global Holdings Inc, is ordered to pay him backwages from the date of his dismissal May 30, 2012 up to the date of Decision, September 24, 2013 (15.80 months) the sum amount of Php330,657.69; plus a separation pay computed a full month’s pay for every year of service, reckoned from his date of employment, April 17, 2007 up to the date of Decision, September 24, 2013 the sum amount of Php108,000; his proportionate 13th month pay for the year 2012 (computed from January 1, 2012 – May 30, 2012) in the amount of Php7,500; plus ten percent of the entire judgement award totalling to Php446,157.69 as and by way of attorney’s fees amounting to Php44,615.77.
Other claims were denied for lack of merit.
NLRC finds Senior Manager’s dismissal illegal