Legal Consequences of Refusal to Accept the Resignation

Legal Consequences of Refusal to Accept the Resignation

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Resignation is the voluntary act of an employee who is in a situation where one believes that personal reasons cannot be sacrificed in favor of the exigency of the service, and one has no other choice or is otherwise compelled to dissociate oneself from employment. [Dela Fuente vs. Gimenez, G.R. No. 214419, November 17, 2021]

It is a formal pronouncement or relinquishment of an office and must be made with the intention of relinquishing the office, accompanied by the act of relinquishment or abandonment. A resignation must be unconditional and with the intent to operate as such. [Jacob vs. Villaseran Maintenance Service Corp., G.R. No. 243951, 20 January 2021]

Thus, essential to the act of resignation is voluntariness. It must be the result of an employee’s exercise of his or her own will.

Under Article 300 of the Labor Code, an employee may terminate without just cause the employee-employer relationship by serving a written notice on the employer at least one (1) month in advance. The employer upon whom no such notice was served may hold the employee liable for damages.

Hence, can the employer validly refuse to accept the resignation of the employee?

The answer is in the affirmative.

Some of the reasons for non-acceptance could be failure to observe the one-month notice or violation of contractual provision.

However, what are the legal consequences for such refusal? Will the resignation take effect or not?

The resignation will take effect insofar as the employee cannot anymore be forced to work for the employer. Compelling the employee would amount to involuntary servitude which is prohibited by the Constitution.

Under Section 18, b, Article III of the 1987 Constitution, (2) no involuntary servitude in any form shall exist except as a punishment for a crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.

Involuntary servitude refers to a condition of enforced and compulsory service of one to another or the condition of one who is compelled by force, coercion, or imprisonment, and against his will, to labor to another, whether he is paid or not. [Hodges vs. US, Rubi vs. Provincial Board of Mindoro, Black’s Law Dictionary]

Hence, an employee, even if offered any payment, cannot be compelled to continue working for the employer against his will. Resignation shall take effect insofar as he shall cease to continue to report for work.

However, Article 300 of the Labor Code may be held liable for damages.

On the part of the employer, the resignation may not take effect considering that the failure of the employee to observe the 30-day prior notice may amount to violation of the company rules and regulations. Further, it may fall within the gross and habitual neglect of duty under Article 297 of the Labor Code.

The employer may initially charge the employee for absence without official leave (AWOL) as the sudden resignation which is refused by the employer constitutes a violation of the leave policy. Directive to report to work may be issued as part of the employer’s management prerogative.

Refusal of the employee to report despite receipt of the directive may amount to abandonment of work since the unjustified absence evolves into animus non revertendi or the lack of intention to return to work. This is abandonment of work.

In sum, an employee whose resignation is refused for failure to observe the 30-day prior notice cannot be forced to report for work. However, he is liable for damages and his status within the company may be that of dismissed for abandonment of work.

Learn how to Validly Terminate Employee in the Philippines with this Tutorial Video of Atty. Elvin

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