▪ Employers are obligated to issue a Certificate of Employment (COE) upon request.
▪ After employment, employers are required to issue a COE.
A certificate of employment (COE) is a document certifying a current or former employee’s employment with an employer, including the start and end date, as well as the position/s held.
Otherwise stated, a COE refers to “a certificate from the employer specifying the dates of an employee’s engagement and the termination of his/her employment and the type or types of work in which he/she is employed.” (Section 1, DOLE Labor Advisory No. 06, Series of 2010, henceforth “LA 06-10”)
2. When issued
A COE is issued after the termination of employment or upon request by an employee. (Ibid.)
The employer is required to issue a COE within three (3) days from the time of request by the employee. (Article III, Ibid.)
3. Binding on the employer
Where an employer defended the issuance of a certificate of service or a COE, which covered a contested period whether the employee worked or not, solely to accommodate the complainant who needed the same for his work application abroad, the case was decided in favor of the employee. “The purpose for which said certificate was issued becomes irrelevant. The fact remains that (the management) knowingly and voluntarily issued the certificate. Mere denials and self-serving statements to the effect that (complainant) allegedly not promised not to use the certificate against (the management) are not sufficient to overturn the same. Hence, (the management) is estopped from assailing the contents of its own certificate of service.” (Salazar v. NLRC, H.L. Carlos Construction, Co., Inc., G.R. No. 109210, 17 April 1996)
4. Normal behavior
“Getting a Certificate of Employment is normal.” (City Trucking, Inc. v. Balajadia, G.R. No. 160769, 09 August 2006)
a. Not an act of abandonment
Where an employee fails to report for work after requesting for a COE, it is not an act of abandonment. (Ibid.)
Where an employer deemed the issuance of a COE as a sign of abandonment of work and thus the was continued failure to give new assignments to the employee, this was considered as acts supporting a case for constructive dismissal. (Josan v. Aduna, G.R. No. 190794, 22 February 2012)
5. When COE reflects last day
Where an employee supported her case for illegal dismissal based on a COE that stated that she was terminated at least two weeks from her last day, it was not considered as evidence of her premature termination from the company “but instead, evidence to show that the (employee) had chosen to avail of her 19 days unused leave credits, as allowed by the company” via an earlier letter. “Upon her own request, she was issued this certification to clear her of all her outstanding liabilities since she, as admitted, would not anymore report for work in view of her leave availment.” (OKS DesignTech, Inc. v Caccam, G.R. No. 211263, 05 August 2015)
6. Insufficient to prove employer-employee relationship
Where a complainant alleged that she was an employee and showed proof via a COE which was issued to accommodate the request so she could acquire future employment elsewhere, it was held that the COE was insufficient to establish the employer-employee relationship. “Considering that the human resource manager explained that the said certification was issued simply for the (complainant’s) future employment elsewhere, it behooves upon (complainant) to discharge the burden of evidence against her by presenting other competent evidence to clearly establish the claimed employer-employee relationship.” (Halipot v. Jade Palace Restaurant, G.R. No. 209363, 10 November 2014)
7. Insufficient to prove claims for sales commission
Where an employee presented a COE to prove his claim for sales commission, it was held to be insufficient “as said document does not give details as to the conditions for payment of the same or the agreed percentage, if any. (Solas v. Power & Telephone Supply Phils., Inc., G.R. No. 162332, 28 August 2008)
▪ Jurisprudence or Supreme Court Decisions