In illegal dismissal cases, corporate officers may be held solidarily liable with the corporation if the termination was done with malice or bad faith

Personal Liability of ETPI’s Officers

And Award of Damages

Culili asserts that the individual respondents, Salvador Hizon, Emiliano Jurado, Virgilio Garcia, and Stella Garcia, as ETPI’s officers, should be held personally liable for the acts of ETPI which were tainted with bad faith and arbitrariness.  Furthermore, Culili insists that he is entitled to damages because of the sufferings he had to endure and the malicious manner he was terminated.

As a general rule, a corporate officer cannot be held liable for acts done in his official capacity because a corporation, by legal fiction, has a personality separate and distinct from its officers, stockholders, and members.  To pierce this fictional veil, it must be shown that the corporate personality was used to perpetuate fraud or an illegal act, or to evade an existing obligation, or to confuse a legitimate issue.  In illegal dismissal cases, corporate officers may be held solidarily liable with the corporation if the termination was done with malice or bad faith. [61]

In illegal dismissal cases, moral damages are awarded only where the dismissal was attended by bad faith or fraud, or constituted an act oppressive to labor, or was done in a manner contrary to morals, good customs or public policy.[62]  Exemplary damages may avail if the dismissal was effected in a wanton, oppressive or malevolent manner to warrant an award for exemplary damages.[63]

It is our considered view that Culili has failed to prove that his dismissal was orchestrated by the individual respondents herein for the mere purpose of getting rid of him.  In fact, most of them have not even dealt with Culili personally.  Moreover, it has been established that his termination was for an authorized cause, and that there was no bad faith on the part of ETPI in implementing its Right-Sizing Program, which involved abolishing certain positions and departments for redundancy.  It is not enough that ETPI failed to comply with the due process requirements to warrant an award of damages, there being no showing that the company’s and its officers’ acts were attended with bad faith or were done oppressively.


About Erineus

Born on December 28, 1965, Surallah, South Cotabato, Southern Mindanao, Philippines.
This entry was posted in Corporation Law, Labor Law, Termination and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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