Due Process Required in Employee DismissalAtty Elvin
The post below is based on the book Guide to Valid Dismissal of Employees (pp. 38-41)
Substantive due process refers to the ground for dismissal. It is the justification, the reason or the “why” aspect. For example, under Article 282, an employee may be dismissed for theft, fraud or gross and habitual neglect of duty. While in Article 283, an employee may be terminated due to closure of establishment, redundancy or retrenchment.
The just cause and authorized cause constitute the substantive due process aspect. The procedure pertains to the manner of executing the discipline.
The law requires observance of procedural due process aspect as well. This is the “how” aspect where the notice requirement mentioned earlier belongs.
Under Section 1, Article III of the 1987 Constitution, “no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws.”
These essential requirements of due process were laid down in the landmark case of Ang Tibay vs. Court of Industrial Relations, et al.
Important part of the decision is reproduced here for better appreciation as follows:
“The fact, however, that the Court of Industrial Relations may be said to be free from the rigidity of certain procedural requirements does not mean that it can, injusticiable cases coming before it, entirely ignore or disregard the fundamental and essential requirements of due process in trials and investigations of an administrative character.
There are cardinal primary rights which must be respected even in proceedings of this character:
(1) The first of these rights is the right to a hearing, which includes the right of the party interested or affected to present his own case and submit evidence in support thereof. In the language of Chief Justice Hughes, in Morgan v. U.S., 304 U.S. 1, 58 S. Ct. 773, 999, 82 Law. ed. 1129, ‘the liberty and property of the citizen shall be protected by the rudimentary requirements of fair play.’
(2) Not only must the party be given an opportunity to present his case and to adduce evidence tending to establish the rights which he asserts but the tribunal must consider the evidence presented. x x x In the language of this Court in Edwards vs. McCoy, 22 Phil. 598, ‘the right to adduce evidence, without the corresponding duty on the part of the board to consider it, is vain. Such right is conspicuously futile if the person or persons to whom the evidence is presented can thrust it aside without notice or consideration.’
(3) While the duty to deliberate does not impose the obligation to decide right, it does imply a necessity which cannot be disregarded, namely, that of having something to support its decision. A decision with absolutely nothing to support it is a nullity, a place when directly attached.” (Edwards vs. McCoy, supra.) x x x
(4) Not only must there be some evidence to support a finding or conclusion (City of Manila vs. Agustin, G.R. No. 45844, promulgated November 29, 1937, XXXVI O.G. 1 335), but the evidence must be ‘substantial.’ x x x ‘Substantial evidence is more than a mere scintilla. It means such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.’ x x x But this assurance of a desirable flexibility in administrative procedure does not go so far as to justify orders without a basis in evidence having rational probative force. Mere uncorroborated hearsay or rumor does not constitute substantial evidence. (Consolidated Edison Co. v. National Labor Relations Board, 59 S. Ct. 206, 83 Law. ed. No. 4, Adv. Op., p. 131.)
(5) The decision must be rendered on the evidence presented at the hearing, or at least contained in the record and disclosed to the parties affected. x x x Only by confining the administrative tribunal to the evidence disclosed to the parties, can the latter be protected in their right to know and meet the case against them.
(6) The Court of Industrial Relations or any of its judges, therefore, must act on its or his own independent consideration of the law and facts of the controversy, and not simply accept the views of a subordinate in arriving at a decision.
(7) The Court of Industrial Relations should, in all controversial questions, render its decision in such a manner that the Parties to the proceeding can know the various issues involved, and the reasons for the decisions rendered. The performance of this duty is inseparable from the authority conferred upon it.”