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Supreme Court rejects illegal dismissal lawsuit filed by SM Hypermarket guards


THE Supreme Court has affirmed a ruling by the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) and the Court of Appeals that had rejected an illegal dismissal claim of two SM Hypermarket security guards.

In a 10-page resolution made public on April 24, the tribunal said Pierre T. Perez and Edwin A. Moriles failed to show that their employment had been terminated by Firestar Security Agency.

“Without an employer-initiated dismissal, an employee cannot claim to have been illegally dismissed,” it said.

“Before the employer is burdened with proving just cause for terminating employment, the employee must first provide substantial evidence of actual termination from employment.”

The High Court disagreed with the security guards’ argument that they had been verbally removed from employment, adding there was no proof that they had been dismissed.

It agreed with the NLRC that Firestar showed no intention of terminating their employment since they previously asked the security guards to explain their absences.

The case stemmed from a complaint filed by the two for the alleged nonpayment of salary and overtime pay before the labor arbiter.

The Court of Appeals, NLRC and labor arbiter ruled in favor of Firestar and SM Hypermarket, saying the two stopped reporting to their posts without filing official leave in 2008.

“No shred of evidence supports their claim of dismissal other than their self-serving conjectures,” the tribunal said.

“With no proof to speak of, this Court sees no reason to reverse the consistent findings of the Court of Appeals and the labor tribunals.” — John Victor D. Ordoñez

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