What to do now that you're resigning?

You are thinking about submitting a resignation letter tomorrow or next week, or next month. From a legal point of view, what should you do?

First, let's define "resignation." According to the Supreme Court, 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. 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 he or she, in fact, intended to sever his or her employment. Please read Gan v. Galderma Philippines, Inc., et al., 701 Phil. 612 (2013), at 638-639.Under the Labor Code of the Philippines (Presidential Decree No. [PD] 442), 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.

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.
Note that, regarding notice by employee, employment contract may stipulate a period longer than one (1) month. For example, it may be agreed that the notice of resignation must be sent two (2) months or six (6) months prior to date of full dissociation. However, a longer period that may be considered unreasonable and oppressive to the employee must be declared contrary to morals and public policy. There must be a reasonable foundation as to why an employee should be made to stay for an extended period of time after tender of resignation letter, such as but not limited to the technical and difficult nature of the job which requires a long period of turn over of documents and/or training of new personnel.

According to the Labor Code, "The employer upon whom no such notice was served may hold the employee liable for damages." Hence, failure to give written notice is actionable and may subject an employee to a legal problem.

In sum, an employee who has decided to resign should draft a written notice of resignation, give said notice to the employer (which may be done through the Human Resources Department) and participate in the turn over of documents and responsibilities.