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C. Termination by employee

1. With notice to the employer

a. 30-day written notice

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. (Article 300[a], Labor Code)

2. Without notice to the employer

An employee may put an end to the relationship without serving any notice on the employer for any of the following just causes:

1) Serious insult by the employer or his representative on the honor and person of the employee;

2) Inhuman and unbearable treatment accorded the employee by the employer or his representative;

3) Commission of a crime or offense by the employer or his representative against the person of the employee or any of the immediate members of his family; and

4) Other causes analogous to any of the foregoing. (Article 300[b], Labor Code)

3. Distinguish voluntary resignation and constructive dismissal

a. Voluntary resignation

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 but to dissociate oneself from employment. (Pascua v. Bank Wise, Inc., G.R. No. 191460, 31 January 2018)

It is a formal pronouncement or relinquishment of an office, with the intention of relinquishing the office accompanied by the act of relinquishment. As the intent to relinquish must concur with the overt act of relinquishment, the acts of the employee before and after the alleged resignation must be considered in determining whether lie or she, in fact, intended to sever his or her employment. (Panasonic Manufacturing Philippines Corporation v. Peckson, G.R. No. 206316, 20 March 2019)

In order to prove that resignation is voluntary, “the acts of the Employee before and after the alleged resignation must be considered in determining whether he or she, in fact, intended to sever his or her employment.” (Pascua v. Bank Wise, Inc., supra.)

The employer has the burden of proving, in illegal dismissal cases, that the employee was dismissed for a just or authorized cause. Even if the employer claims that the employee resigned, the employer still has the burden of proving that the resignation was voluntary. (Ibid.)

b. Constructive dismissal

Constructive dismissal is defined as quitting or cessation of work because continued employment is rendered impossible, unreasonable or unlikely; when there is a demotion in rank or a diminution of pay and other benefits. It exists if an act of clear discrimination, insensibility, or disdain by an employer becomes so unbearable on the part of the employee that it could foreclose any choice by him except to forego his continued employment. There is involuntary resignation due to the harsh, hostile, and unfavorable conditions set by the employer.

1) Test of constructive dismissal

The test of constructive dismissal is whether a reasonable person in the employee’s position would have felt compelled to give up his employment/position under the circumstances. (Panasonic Manufacturing Philippines Corporation v. Peckson, G.R. No. 206316, 20 March 2019)

It is constructive dismissal when resignation “was made under compulsion or under circumstances approximating compulsion, such as when an employee’s act of handing in his [or her] resignation was a reaction to circumstances leaving him [or her] no alternative but to resign.” (Ibid.)

c. Graceful exit

Graceful exit is a voluntary resignation, not a constructive dismissal.

Central Azucarera de Bais, Inc. v. Siason, G.R. No. 215555, 29 July 2015

A judicious review of the records reveals that CABI’s accounting department indeed made an audit of the purchases made by the company through its Purchasing Officer, Siason. This resulted in the discovery of a number of questionable discrepancies in several purchasing transactions undertaken by Siason, consisting in different price quotations for identical items contained in various purchase documents prepared by Siason herself.

Taking into consideration Siason’s long tenure at CABI, as well as her close relationship with Chan, the latter sent her the October 3, 2011 letter asking her to resign “rather than [to] force [his] hand” – which should be construed as Chan telling Siason to resign or be faced with an administrative complaint. On October 4, 2011, Atty. Ner-Tiangco sent Siason another letter, essentially confirming if the latter was going to resign or if she is subjecting herself to an administrative investigation. Ultimately, Siason chose to tender her resignation to save herself from the trouble of besmirching her employment record.

The foregoing facts belie Siason’s argument that petitioners constructively dismissed her. These circumstances show that she was given the option to voluntarily resign from CABI, instead of dealing with an investigation which might result in her dismissal. Verily, Chan’s decision to give Siason a graceful exit rather than to file an action for redress is perfectly within the discretion of the former; as it is not uncommon that an employee is permitted to resign to avoid the humiliation and embarrassment of being terminated for just cause after the exposure of her malfeasance. It is settled that there is nothing reprehensible or illegal when the employer grants the employee a chance to resign and save face rather than smear the latter’s employment record, as in this case.

In sum, petitioners did not constructively dismiss Siason; but rather, the latter voluntarily resigned from her job in order to avoid a full-blown administrative trial regarding her misdeeds which could potentially result in her termination for just cause. While it may be said that she did not tender her resignation wholeheartedly, circumstances of her own making did not give her any other option but to voluntarily do so. Therefore, in view of her voluntary resignation from CABI, she is not entitled to any separation pay in the absence of any agreement with petitioners providing for such. /end

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