2013 (Labor Law) Bar Exam Questions: Question 1

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I.

Jose and Erica, former sweethearts, both worked as sales representatives for Magna, a multinational firm engaged in the manufacture and sale of pharmaceutical products. Although the couple had already broken off their relationship, Jose continued to have special feelings for Erica.

One afternoon, Jose chanced upon Erica riding in the car of Paolo, a co-employee and Erica’s ardent suitor; the two were on their way back to the office from a sales call on Silver Drug, a major drug retailer. In a fit of extreme jealousy, Jose rammed Paolo’s car, causing severe injuries to Paolo and Erica. Jose’s flare up also caused heavy damage to the two company-owned cars they were driving.

(A) As lawyer for Magna, advise the company on whether just and valid grounds exist to dismiss Jose. (4%)

(B) Assuming this time that Magna dismissed Jose from employment for cause and you are the lawyer of Jose, how would you argue the position that Jose’s dismissal was illegal? (4%)

12 comments

  1. (A) There are just causes to to dismiss Jose. The act of willfully wrecking a company-owned vehicle assigned to Jose constitutes serious misconduct and willful breach of the trust and confidence reposed in him by Magna, both of which are grounds for termination under Article 282 of the Labor Code. A high degree of trust and confidence is reposed on a sales representative, who must protect the name, business and property of the company. As a sales representative, Jose is expected to preserve the properties entrusted to him, including the company vehicle.

    (B) There is no just case for terminating Jose. Article 282 of the Labor Code provides the following just causes for termination: (i) serious misconduct or willful disobedience of lawful orders; (ii) gross and habitual neglect of duties; (iii) loss of trust and confidence; (iv) offense against the person of employer; and (v) analogous cases. It could not be willful disobedience because there is no proof of the lawful order — the employer has the burden of proof and all doubts resolved in favor of labor. It could not be neglect of duties because it has not been shown that it is habitual. There is no loss of trust and confidence because the employer failed to show the extent of duties and level of trust reposed in Jose. It could not be a crime against the person of the employer because what is involved is a car. There are no analogous grounds.

    1. Etong letter B tlga ang hirap ako intindihin, kasi the examiner wants us to assume that he was dismissed for cause, but wants us to contest the dismissal as illegal, so ang sagot ko is on procedural due process, but come to think of it hindi rin naman illegal kung yung process lang naman ang hindi nasunod, it could be defective dismissal only which warrants damages, ewan ko meron pa ba iba suggested answer?

      1. I agree with you po. Since, although there was assumption of dismissal with a just cause. Still, Jose must not be deprived of his right to due process of the law. Otherwise, an outright dismissal, would render the same as illegal.
        Hope maari po idea.

  2. I think giving proposed answers to all questions is a sound idea.I am interested because I’m of the examinees who took the 2013 bar exams.

  3. I think giving proposed answers to the bar questions is a sound idea.I am interested because I was one of the thousands of the examinees who took the 2013 exams.

  4. this is actually similar to the case where a sales representative assaulted a co-employee after office hours after seeing his ex-gf/officemate with another suitor. The court held that the dismissal was illegal because the action was not in connection with the nature of work. the only difference is this problem involved office property so it is really tricky.

  5. commission of a crime is a valid cause for dismissal according to a case.. the commission of a criminal negligence is a crime and therefore a valid just cause

  6. Yes. Article 282 of the Labor Code provides:
    xx
    d. Commission of a crime or offense by the employee against the person of his employer or any immediate member of his family or his duly authorized representatives;
    xx

    Serious physical injuries was caused by the act of Jose ramming his car to that of Erica and Paulo. Both Erica and Paulo are sales representatives and can be considered
    ‘duly authorized representatives’ of their employer.

    While the case involves a love affair and not in anyway related to their work or performance of duties, the act of damaging the company-owned car is a different matter. Jose can be held liable for damages caused by his wrongful act.

  7. I admit that I am having a doubt with my answer po, because to justify that the act of Jose as a serious misconduct a valid ground for his dismissal will not succeed, since it is not one of the circumstances the law required. IT has no work connection. Having said that, it is personal. The remedy is not the dismissal of Jose but a complaint for damages. That once proven, Jose will suffer suspension for his intentional act base from the facts of the case.
    I stand to be corrected po.

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