Dear Atty. Joji,
My mother got seriously ill during the Covid-19 pandemic. I was the only one who could take care of her, so I had to use up all my leave credits, and there were days I would be absent without pay or even AWOL (absent without official leave).
Since my mother still needed constant care for the long haul, I decided to take over her online business and just resign from my work after giving the 30-day notice. The company accepted by resignation and even approved my request to be on leave without pay until my resignation takes effect.
However, around two weeks after I submitted by resignation letter, a relative suddenly came home from abroad, and said she could take care of my mother. I immediately went back to my company to withdraw my resignation.
But the HR officer said, since they already accepted my resignation letter and they were already training my replacement, my resignation cannot be withdrawn anymore and I will be considered resigned in two weeks.
I argued that my resignation did not take effect yet so I can still withdraw it. But the HR officer insisted that my resignation is already final. Is the HR officer correct? Is this not illegal dismissal?
In the case of Intertrod Maritime Inc., et al. vs NLRC, et al. (G.R. 81087, 19 June 1991) (Intertrod Case), the Supreme Court said that resignations, once accepted and being the sole act of the employee, may not be withdrawn without the consent of the employer.
The company already accepted and approved your resignation. When you changed your mind and wanted to continue working, it will be up to the company if they will let you withdraw your resignation or not.
Therefore, applying the Intertrod Case, the mere fact that the company did not accept your withdrawal does not constitute illegal dismissal because acceptance of the withdrawal of the resignation is the sole prerogative of the company as the employer.
When you resigned and your resignation was accepted, you no longer had any right to your job. When you changed your mind, you must ask for approval for the withdrawal of your resignation, as if you were applying again for the job.
If the company does not accept the withdrawal, as in your case, you cannot claim illegal dismissal since the company has the right to determine who its employees will be. To say that an employee who has resigned was illegally dismissed, is to encroach upon the right of employers to hire persons who will be of service to them.
Atty. Joji Alonso