Tuesday, August 28, 2007

AGABON vs. NLRC, November 17, 2004

By Atty. Golda Benjamin

® Virgilio and Jenny Agabon were cornice installers of Riviera Home Improvements, a company engaged in the business of selling ornamental construction materials.

® They were employed from January 2, 1992 until February 23, 1999, when they were dismissed for abandonment of work.

® The Agabons filed a complaint for illegal dismissal before the LA, who ruled in their favor. The NLRC reversed on appeal. The CA sustained the NLRC’s decision

® The Agabons further appealed to the SC, disputing the finding of abandonment, and claiming that the company did not comply with the twin requirements of notice and hearing.

Issue: WON the Agabons were illegally dismissed

Held: NO

® Substantive due process (EEs must be dismissed for just or authorized cause): SC upheld the finding of abandonment, because the act of the Agabons in seeking employment elsewhere clearly showed a deliberate intent to sever the ER-EE relationship.

® Procedural due process (for just cause, there must be a written notice informing him of grounds for termination, a hearing or opportunity to be heard, and a final notice of termination stating the grounds therefor): There was no due process because ER did not send the requisite notices to the last known address of the EEs. ER only gave a flimsy excuse that the notice would be useless because the EEs no longer lived there. This is not a valid excuse, they should have still sent a notice as mandated by law.

® For not sending the requisite notices, the ER should be held liable for non-compliance with the procedural requirements of due process.

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