Criminal conviction NOT necessary for employment termination

In Nicolas v. National Labor Relations Commission,[1] the Supreme Court held in Lynvil Fishing Enterprises, Inc. v. Arriola, et al.,[2] that a criminal conviction is not necessary to find just cause for employment termination. Otherwise stated, an employee's acquittal in a criminal case, especially one that is grounded on the existence of reasonable doubt, will not preclude a determination in a labor case that he is guilty of acts inimical to the employer's interests.[3] In the reverse, the finding of probable cause is not followed by automatic adoption of such finding by the labor tribunals.[4] In other words, whichever way the public prosecutor disposes of a complaint, the finding does not bind the labor tribunal.[5]In the case of Copy Central Digital Copy Solution v. Domrique and LeaƱo,[6] petitioners cannot argue that, since the Assistant City Prosecutor found probable cause for qualified theft and subsequently filed criminal information against respondents, the LA must follow the finding as a valid reason for their termination from employment. The proof required for purposes that differ from one and the other are likewise different.

Hence, aside from the allegation of theft which was not substantiated, absent any other ground for petitioners to lose trust and confidence in respondents, the Supreme Court agreed with the LA and the CA that respondents' termination from employment is illegal.

[1] 327 Phil. 883, 886-887 (1996).

[2] 680 Phil. 696 (2012).

[3] Lynvil Fishing Enterprises, Inc. v. Arriola, et al., supra, at 709-710.

[4] Id. at 710.

[5] Id.

[6] G.R. No. 193219, July 27, 2015.