Article 283 of the Labor Code provides:
ART. 283. Closure of establishment and reduction of personnel. – The employer may also terminate the employment of any employee due to the installation of labor-saving devices, redundancy, retrenchment to prevent losses or the closing or cessation of operation of the establishment or undertaking unless the closing is for the purpose of circumventing the provisions of this Title, by serving a written notice on the workers and the Department of Labor and Employment at least one (1) month before the intended date thereof. In case of termination due to the installation of labor saving devices or redundancy, the worker affected thereby shall be entitled to a separation pay equivalent to at least his one (1) month pay or to at least one (1) month pay for every year of service, whichever is higher. In case of retrenchment to prevent losses and in cases of closures or cessation of operations of establishment or undertaking not due to serious business losses or financial reverses, the separation pay shall be equivalent to one (1) month pay or to at least one-half (1/2) month pay for every year of service, whichever is higher. A fraction of at least six (6) months shall be considered one (1) whole year.
In this case, Plastimer submitted the notice of termination of employment to the DOLE on 26 May 2004. However, notice to the affected employees were given to them on 14 May 2004 or 30 days before the effectivity of their termination from employment on 13 June 2004. While notice to the DOLE was short of the one-month notice requirement, the affected employees were sufficiently informed of their retrenchment 30 days before its effectivity. Petitioners’ failure to comply with the one-month notice to the DOLE is only a procedural infirmity and does not render the retrenchment illegal. In Agabon v. NLRC,12 we ruled that when the dismissal is for a just cause, the absence of proper notice should not nullify the dismissal or render it illegal or ineffectual. Instead, the employer should indemnify the employee for the violation of his statutory rights.13 Here, the failure to fully comply with the one-month notice of termination of employment did not render the retrenchment illegal but it entitles respondents to nominal damages.