With regard to disease as a ground for termination, Article 284 of the Labor Code provides that an employer may terminate the services of an employee who has been found to be suffering from any disease and whose continued employment is prohibited by law or is prejudicial to his health, as well as to the health of his co-employees. In order to validly terminate employment on this ground, Section 8, Rule I, Book VI of the Omnibus Rules Implementing the Labor Code requires that: (i) the employee be suffering from a disease and his continued employment is prohibited by law or prejudicial to his health or to the health of his co-employees, and (ii) a certification by a competent public health authority that the disease is of such nature or at such a stage that it cannot be cured within a period of six (6) months even with proper medical treatment. If the disease or ailment can be cured within the period, the employer shall not terminate the employee but shall ask the employee to take a leave. The employer shall reinstate such employee to his former position immediately upon the restoration of his normal health. In Triple Eight Integrated Services, Inc. v. NLRC (G.R. No. 129584, December 3, 1998), the Court held that the requirement for a medical certificate under Article 284 of the Labor Code cannot be dispensed with; otherwise, it would sanction the unilateral and arbitrary determination by the employer of the gravity or extent of the employee’s illness and, thus, defeat the public policy on the protection of labor.
In this case, Ynson should have reported back to work or attended the investigations conducted by Wuerth Philippines, Inc. immediately upon being permitted to work by his doctors, knowing that his position remained vacant for a considerable length of time. However, he did not even show any sincere effort to return to work. Clearly, since there is no more hindrance for him to return to work and attend the investigations set by Wuerth Philippines, Inc., Ynson’s failure to do so was without any valid or justifiable reason. His conduct shows his indifference and utter disregard of his work and his employer’s interest, and displays his clear, deliberate, and gross dereliction of duties. The power to dismiss an employee is a recognized prerogative inherent in the employer’s right to freely manage and regulate his business. The law, in protecting the rights of the laborers, authorizes neither oppression nor self-destruction of the employer. The worker’s right to security of tenure is not an absolute right, for the law provides that he may be dismissed for cause. As a general rule, employers are allowed wide latitude of discretion in terminating the employment of managerial personnel. The mere existence of a basis for believing that such employee has breached the trust and confidence of his employer would suffice for his dismissal. Needless to say, an irresponsible employee like Ynson does not deserve a position in the workplace, and it is Wuerth Philippines, Inc.’s management prerogative to terminate his employment. To be sure, an employer cannot be compelled to continue with the employment of workers when continued employment will prove inimical to the employer’s interest. Wuerth Philippines, Inc. vs. Rodante Ynson, G.R. No. 175932, February 15, 2012.