The power to dismiss is the normal prerogative of the employer. An employer, generally, can dismiss or lay off an employee for just and authorized causes enumerated under Articles 282 and 283 of the Labor Code of the Philippines.
However, the right of an employer to freely discharge his employees is subject to regulation by the State, basically in the exercise of its paramount police power. This is so, because the preservation of the lives of the citizens is a basic duty of the State, more vital than the preservation of corporate profits. (Manila Electric Company vs. National Labor Relations Commission, G.R. No. 78763, July 12, 1989)
The employer is bound to exercise caution in terminating the services of his employees especially so when it is made upon the request of a labor union pursuant to the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Dismissals must not be arbitrary and capricious. Due process must be observed in dismissing an employee, because it affects not only his position, but also his means of livelihood. Employers should, therefore, respect and protect the rights of their employees, which include the right to labor. (Rance, et al. vs. National Labor Relations Commission, G.R. No. 68147, June 30, 1988)
Thus, where the employee's dismissal was not based on any of the grounds provided in the contract of employment, but because the employer's personnel manager resented the act of the respondent of writing memos calling the manager's attention to the problems in the camp site and furnishing copies of said memos to government agencies and the Office of the President of the Philippines, which act the employer perceived as detrimental to its interest, the dismissal was held unjustified. (Trans-Orient Overseas Contractors, Inc. vs. National Labor Relations Commission, G.R. No. 75602, Dec. 29, 1989)
Similarly, the dismissal of an employee without any investigation having been previously conducted by the employer to ascertain his participation in the fistfight within company premises, is illegal for non-compliance with the requirements of procedural due process. (Broadway Motors, Inc. vs. National Labor Relations Commission, G.R. No. 78382, Dec. 14, 1987)
As Mr. Justice Panganiban, in an en banc decision, states:
To constitute a completely valid and faultless dismissal, it is well-settled that the employer must show not only sufficient ground therefor, but it must also prove that it observed procedural due process by giving the employee two notices: one, of the intention to dismiss, indicating therein his acts or omissions complained against, and two, notice of the decision to dismiss; and an opportunity to answer and rebut the charges against him, in between such notices. (MGG Marine Services, Inc., et al. vs. NLRC and E.A. Molina, G.R. No. 114313, July 29, 1996)