THE Court of Appeals (CA) has upheld the dismissal of former teachers at De La Salle University’s Center for Language and Lifelong Learning, after they failed to meet the employment requirement of having master’s degrees.
In a 13-page decision issued on Oct. 17, the CA Tenth Division said the National Labor and Relations Commission (NLRC) did not abuse its discretion when it ruled that teachers Luz Dela Cruz Raymundo and Meredith Ruth C. Lagarde were not illegally dismissed.
“If the NLRC’s ruling has basis in the evidence and the applicable law and jurisprudence, then no grave abuse of discretion exists and this Court should so declare and, accordingly, dismiss the petition,” Associate Justice Jamie Fortunato A. Caringal said in the ruling.
He added that teachers’ right to due process was not violated since the twin notice rule is only applicable to regular employees.
Under the Labor department’s rules, employers are required to issue two written notices that show the grounds for terminating employment, and must consider all circumstances before ordering dismissal.
The case stemmed from a complaint filed by the teachers after the school chose not to renew their contracts.
In 2018, an officer of the language school told Ms. Raymundo that her contract would not be renewed as master’s degrees were now required to work at the school.
The school official said the teachers were only hired for a fixed period of one month since they taught short certificate courses. The contracts of the teachers had been renewed every month for 17 years as they continued working at the school.
The NLRC in 2019 ruled that the teachers were illegally dismissed and classified them as regular employees of the school, a position it reversed in 2021. In the second ruling, Ms. Raymundo was deemed to have been employed on a part-time basis.
“The practice of hiring teachers per semester or school year, or in this case per month, by educational institutions, is generally governed by the rules on fixed-term employment unless the circumstances provide for either a probationary or a regular employment status,” the appellate court ruled. — John Victor D. Ordoñez