LIVE AND FREE HR TALK: 5 Secrets to Stop Losing Labor Cases

Date: January 21, 2023 (Sunday)

Time: 3:00pm to 5:00pm

Topic: “How to Avoid and Win DOLE / NLRC Labor Cases”

Expert Speaker: Labor Lawyers Atty Erwin Zagala and Atty Ramon Ramirez

To watch: Live and FREE at the Philippine HR Group Facebook and The HR Cafe: Usapang Buhay, Trabaho, Atbp Facebook and Youtube pages

Tomorrow Sunday, two of our favorite labor lawyers, Atty Erwin Zagala and Atty Ramon Ramirez, authors of Legal Guide Philippines ( will talk about How Companies and HR can Prevent employees from Filing DOLE Cases.

Labor Cases cost companies Billions of Pesos Annually here in the Philippines for settlements and/or awards. Learn how to navigate DOLE Labor Complaints and Find out how to avoid them in the next episode of The HR Cafe: Usapang Trabaho, Buhay at Iba Pa (Ep121).

Make sure that you block-off your calendars for another weekend of FREE Learning at 3PM , SUNDAY aired live at Philippines HR Group FB Group Page and Youtube Channel as well as the FB Page of The HR Cafe: Usapang Trabaho, Buhay at Iba Pa.





1. Give Peace a Chance

• Subpoenas for SENA is not yet a labor case. It’s a chance for mediation. Think of the DOLE arbiter as a mediator.

• SENA is an information gathering opportunity. Use your listening skills during the mediation.

* If you can find a way to fulfill the needs of the employee, it will save your employee time, money and stress.

* Always attend the SENA meeting. You can send a representative by issuing a Special Power of Attorney (SPA). A lawyer can be a representative, but are not required.

2. Know the Backstory.

* “A violation never lives in isolation.” – Atty. Erwin Zagala.

If the employee has a violation, don’t simplify it. Check if the company violated something as well.

* Check if the employee committed any violations previously. You have to check the history of the employee if the violation was repetitive or this was just the first time?

* Totality of Offenses Doctrine – the law gives you the privilege of taking a look at the history of the employee. You can use the entire set of sins for disciplinary process.

3. Consistency is key when it comes to employee discipline.

* Have you ever had an employee na super galing? What if umalis si super galing na staff?

* Rely on systems – introduce legal systems into your systems that way you’re not dependent on a high-performing employee.

* A good system is full of templates, which anyone can follow. A pro of a good system is that you have proper documentation.

* If you’re scaling/hiring, if there are any system mistakes, now is the time to fix it. Because if you expand the company without changing the system, it will be harder to fix later on.

* The systems have to carry the load of the company.

* “You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.” — James Clear, Atomic Habits.

4. Evidence is Important.

* Tainted evidence is a problem. Make sure you’re well documented.

* How do we preserve evidence? Do preventive suspension as a way to isolate the evidence from the accused employee so they can’t delete, tamper or influence evidence.

* When is preventive suspension allowed? Preventive suspension is NOT a punishment. Rather, it is imposed preventively, before ANY decision is made. It’s given while the investigation is taking place. And while you’re still investigating the issue, there’s no disciplinary decision yet.

* Suspension as a penalty only comes after investigation.

* Under the Labor Code, you can only do Preventive Suspension if there’s an IMMEDIATE THREAT to the Persons and Property. Protect evidence during Preventive Suspension.

* Preventive Suspension prevents the employee from influencing witnesses (e.g., Culprit pressuring others to not say anything bad about him), tampering or destroying company records or CCTV footage.

5. Get familiar with the Terrain (Whole Employee Relations Journey).

* Employee relations is a journey: There’s a starting point and an ending point. Familiarize yourself with the procedure in SEQUENCE.

* If you don’t follow the sequence, you’re undermining your chance for success. If you don’t follow the sequence, it will be obvious. And any missteps can be used against you.

* Examples of milestones – Twin Notice Rule is essential. Do admin hearings. Even for investigations, know what to look for.

* All legal proceedings deal with evidence. If wala kangbala, you won’t have any leverage when you do a labor case.

* The burden of proof is always on the employer that the employee is rightfully terminated.


* Read the Labor Code.

* Put out rules for cash handling. If the company has no set procedures, then there’s no ground that the employee action is inappropriate. Example, paguwi ng pera. If you don’t have an SOP as to how the money should be deposited, may lusot si Employee.

* Resignation is a right given to ALL employees. Employees are not asking for permission. They are giving you notice. If you were found guilty

* Resignation = Pinapaalam mo lang sa company na hindika papasok. Even if you accepted resignation, company can ask you to do a 30-day notice.

* If you get the resignation letter with “immediate resignation,” accept it but write on the letter that the turnover period will be X date. If the person does not come to work anymore, the AWOL process will come into place. Follow the due process to terminate the employee for AWOL.

* Employee discipline is part of management prerogative.

* Suspension is not even in the Labor Code. Suspension is management prerogative. The Labor Code says company can determine how they want the staff to be disciplined.

* Totality of Offenses = If offenses fall under the same category, they can be lumped together into one super legal ground for more serious disciplinary action.

* Loss of trust and confidence is the weakest ground for just causes of termination. Hence, don’t treat as main dish. Serve it with something more substantial that’s more obhective.

* The worst message to send the team is that there’s precedent na magbabayad ka every time may DOLE complaint. A remedy is to take a stand.

* Can you extend probationary period? If you do this the wrong way, it will come back to bite you.

* We have to establish a pattern of incompetence. Because if you establish multiple evaluation period, you’re documenting evidence for termination.

* AWOL – Put the ball in their court. Have a paper trail that there was an intention to abandon work. You give the employee an order to return to work, the more the merrier, giving you ample evidence to come back. If hindi sinusunod, then send a NTE for AWOL and Abandonment.

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