Colegio Del Santisimo Rosario v. Rojo (Villarama)

August 7, 2017 | Author: Binkee Villarama | Category: Employment, Due Process Clause, Academic Term, Labour Law, Virtue
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G.R. No. 170388

September 4, 2013

Del Castillo, J.

Colegio del Santisimo Rosario (CSR) & Sr. Zenaida S. Mofada v. Emmanuel Rojo

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CSR hired Emmanuel as a high school teacher on a probationary basis for the SY92-93, 93-94, 94-95. On April 5, 1995, CSR through Sr. Mofada decided not to renew Emmanuel's contract. On July 13, 1995, Emmanuel filed a complaint for illegal dismissal. Claiming he had served the maximum term for probationary employment and should be considered permanent, he cited: o Paragraph 75 of the 1970 Manual of Regulations of Private Schools: "full-time teachers who have rendered three (3) consecutive years of satisfactory services shall be considered permanent." Petitioners CSR and Sr. Mofada argue: o Emmanuel knew his contract for SY94-95 would expire on March 31, 1995. Accordingly, he was not dismissed; his probationary contract merely expired. o The "3 consecutive years" mentioned in the 1970 Manual refer to "36 months", not "3 school years". Since a school year is only 10 months, Emmanuel served only 30 months. LA: Emmanuel already attained regular employment status. "3 consecutive years" pertains to school years. Petitioners were guilty of bad faith in insisting that the school board deliberated on his non-renewal without submitting admissible proof of his alleged performance evaluation. LA awarded separation pay, 13th month pay, moral and exemplary damages, and attorney's fees. NLRC: Affirmed LA with modification. Emmanuel attained regular employment status especially because CSR did not make known to him the reasonable standards he should meet. He is entitled to reinstatement (or if not viable, separation pay), and backwages. CA: Affirmed NLRC. There was no showing that CSR set performance standards which could be the basis of his satisfactory or unsatisfactory performance. Hence, there being no reasonable standards made known to him at the time of his engagement, Emmanuel was deemed a regular employee and was illegally dismissed when his contract was not renewed.

W/N Emmanuel had attained the status of a regular employee ⇒ YES. CA decision affirmed. 1. Applicable law •

Mercado v. AMA: Cases dealing with probationary employment of teaching personnel are not governed solely by the Labor Code. The law is supplemented by special rules in the Manual of Regulations for Private Schools. Sec. 92 provides: o SEC. 92. Probationary Period. - Subject in all instances to compliance with the Department and school requirements, the probationary period for academic personnel shall not be more than 3 consecutive years of satisfactory service for those in the elementary and secondary levels, 6 consecutive regular semesters of satisfactory service for those in the tertiary level, and 9 consecutive trimesters of satisfactory service for those in the tertiary level where collegiate courses are offered on a trimester basis. Magis Young Achievers' Learning Center v. Manalo: Common practice is for schools to hire teachers for 1-year periods. It is when the yearly contract is renewed for the third time that Section 93 of the Manual becomes operative, and the teacher then is entitled to regular or permanent employment status. This scheme of fixed-term contract during the probationary period is subject to Art. 281 of the Labor Code, as supported by Sec. 93 of the 1992 Manual: o SEC. 93. Regular or Permanent Status. - Those who have served the probationary period shall be made regular or permanent. Full-time teachers who have satisfactorily completed their probationary period shall be considered regular or permanent. CSR v. Rojo |


2. Reasonable standards should be made known at the start of the probationary period •

The use of the term satisfactorily in Sec. 93 necessarily connotes the requirement for schools to set reasonable standards to be followed by teachers on probationary employment. For how else can one determine if probationary teachers have satisfactorily completed the probationary period if standards therefor are not provided? As the Court said in Mercado v. AMA: o Labor, for its part, is given the protection during the probationary period of knowing the company standards the new hires have to meet during the probationary period, and to be judged on the basis of these standards, aside from the usual standards applicable to employees after they achieve permanent status. Under the terms of the Labor Code, these standards should be made known to the teachers on probationary status at the start of their probationary period, or at the very least under the circumstances of the present case, at the start of the semester or the trimester during which the probationary standards are to be applied. Of critical importance in invoking a failure to meet the probationary standards, is that the school should show – as a matter of due process – how these standards have been applied. This is effectively the second notice in a dismissal situation that the law requires as a due process guarantee supporting the security of tenure provision, and is in furtherance, too, of the basic rule in employee dismissal that the employer carries the burden of justifying a dismissal. These rules ensure compliance with the limited security of tenure guarantee the law extends to probationary employees. For teachers on probationary employment, it is incumbent upon the school to have not only set reasonable standards to be followed by said teachers in determining qualification for regular employment, the same must have also been communicated to the teachers at the start of the probationary period, or at the very least, at the start of the period when they were to be applied. Corollarily, should the teachers not have been apprised of such reasonable standards at the time specified above, they shall be deemed regular employees. In this case, glaringly absent from petitioners’ evidence are the reasonable standards that respondent was expected to meet that could have served as proper guidelines for purposes of evaluating his performance. Nowhere in the Teacher’s Contract could such standards be found. Neither was it mentioned that the same were ever conveyed to Emmanuel. Even assuming that he failed to meet the standards set forth by CSR and made known to the former at the time he was engaged as a teacher on probationary status, still, the termination was flawed for failure to give the required notice. As a matter of due process, teachers on probationary employment, just like all probationary employees, have the right to know whether they have met the standards against which their performance was evaluated. Should they fail, they also have the right to know the reasons therefor.

3. Presumption of satisfactory performance •

Absent any showing of unsatisfactory performance on the part of Emmanuel, it can be presumed that his performance was satisfactory, especially taking into consideration the fact that even while he was still more than a year into his probationary employment, he was already designated Prefect of Discipline. In such capacity, he was able to uncover the existence of a drug syndicate within the school and lessen the incidence of drug use therein. Yet despite his substantial contribution to the school, petitioners chose to disregard the same and instead terminated his services; while most of those who were involved in drug activities within the school were punished with a slap on the wrist as they were merely made to write letters promising that the incident will not happen again. Bianca Danica Santiago Villarama

CSR v. Rojo |


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