Case Digest: Peflor v. Outdoor Clothing, et al.

G.R. No. 177114 : April 13, 2010




Peflor was hired as probationary HRD Manager of Outdoor Clothing. More than six months from the time he was hired, Peflor learned that Outdoor Clothings President, Nathaniel Syfu (Syfu), appointed Edwin Buenaobra (Buenaobra) as the concurrent HRD and Accounting Manager. After enduring what he claimed as discriminatory treatment at work, Peflor considered the appointment of Buenaobra to his position as the last straw, and thus filed his irrevocable resignation from Outdoor Clothing effective at the close of office hours on March 15, 2000. He thereafter filed an illegal dismissal complaint with the labor arbiter claiming that he had been constructively dismissed. The labor arbiter agreed with Peflor and issued a decision in his favor.

On appeal, the NLRC, reversed the labor arbiters ruling. Peflor questioned the NLRCs decision before the CA, the appellate court affirmed the NLRCs decision. Hence, Peflor filed a petition for review on certiorari with the Court.

We found it crucial to determine whether Peflor filed his resignation letter before or after the appointment of Buenaobra as concurrent HRD and Accounting Manager. If the resignation was submitted before Syfus appointment of Buenaobra, little support would exist for Peflors allegation of constructive dismissal, as the appointment would merely be intended to cover the vacancy created by Peflors resignation. If however the resignation was made after the appointment of Buenaobra, then factual basis exists to consider Peflor as constructively dismissed by Outdoor Clothing, as the resignation would be a response to the unacceptable appointment of another person to a position he still occupied.

ISSUE: Whether Peflor's resignation from Outdoor Clothing was voluntary or a forced one, the latter making it a constructive dismissal equivalent to an illegal dismissal.


Court of Appeals decision is sustained.


The fact of filing a resignation letter alone does not shift the burden of proving that the employees dismissal was for a just and valid cause from the employer to the employee. To our mind, Outdoor Clothing did not discharge this burden by belatedly presenting the three memoranda it relied on. If these memoranda were authentic, they would have shown that Peflors resignation preceded the appointment of Buenaobra. Thus, they would be evidence supporting the claim of voluntariness of Peflors resignation and should have been presented early on in the case any lawyer or layman by simple logic can be expected to know this. Outdoor Clothing however raised them only before the NLRC when they had lost the case before the labor arbiter and now conveniently attributes the failure to do so to its former counsel. Outddor Clothings belated explanation as expressed in its motion for reconsideration, to our mind, is a submission we cannot accept for serious consideration. We find it significant that Peflor attacked the belated presentation of these memoranda in his Answer to Outdoor Clothings Memoranda of Appeal with the NLRC, but records do not show that Outdoor Clothing ever satisfactorily countered Peflors arguments. It was not until we pointed out Outdoor Clothings failure to explain its belated presentation of the memoranda in our January 21, 2010 decision that Outdoor Clothing offered a justification.

Our ruling that Peflor was constructively dismissed from his employment with Outdoor Clothing therefore stands.

We modify, however, our ruling on the extent of liability of Outdoor Clothing and its co-respondents. In the present case, malice or bad faith on the part of the Syfu, Demogena, and Lee, as corporate officers of Outdoor Clothing, was not sufficiently proven to justify a ruling holding them solidarily liable with Outdoor Clothing.