Almirante: Preventive suspension

Dominador Almirante
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PETITIONER Samuel Mamaril was charged for having committed several infractions for which an administrative investigation was conducted.

During the pendency of the administrative hearing, respondent, The Red System Company Inc. (Red System), placed him under preventive suspension for a period of one month.

After the completion of the administrative investigation, Red System found Mamaril guilty of violating the company code of conduct. Thus, he was dismissed from the service for willful disobedience and willful breach of trust as provided under Article 297 of the Labor Code.

Aggrieved, Mamaril filed a complaint against Red System for illegal dismissal with damages and attorney’s fees. He contended that he was meted with a “double penalty” for having been suspended and thereafter terminated from employment.

Does this contention find merit?

Ruling: No.

To begin with, Mamaril’s initial suspension was a preventive suspension that was necessary to protect Red System’s equipment and personnel.

Significantly, “preventive suspension is a measure allowed by law and afforded to the employer if an employee’s continued employment poses a serious and imminent threat to the employer’s life or property or of his co-workers.”

An employee may be placed under preventive suspension during the pendency of an investigation against him.

In fact, the employer’s right to place an employee under preventive suspension is recognized in Sections 8 and 9 of Rule XXIII, Book V of the Omnibus Rules Implementing the Labor Code, which states:

SEC. 8. Preventive suspension. - The employer may place the worker concerned under preventive suspension if his continued employment poses a serious and imminent threat to the life or property of the employer or of his co-workers.

SEC. 9. Period of suspension. - No preventive suspension shall last longer than thirty (30) days. The employer shall thereafter reinstate the worker in his former or in a substantially equivalent position or the employer may extend the period of suspension provided that during the period of extension, he pays the wages and other benefits due to the worker. In such case, the worker shall not be bound to reimburse the amount paid to him during the extension if the employer decides, after completion of the hearing, to dismiss the worker.

In the case at bar, Mamaril was placed under preventive suspension considering that during the pendency of the administrative hearings, he was noticed to have several near-accident misses and he had exhibited a lack of concern for his work.

His inattentiveness posed a serious threat to the safety of the company equipment and personnel. This is especially true considering that he was driving trucks loaded with fragile products. (Samuel Mamaril vs. The Red System Company, Inc.,, G.R. No. 229920, July 4, 2018)