Disease – refers to medical conditions that comply with the standards below.

DOLE D.O. 147-15 provides for the standards to be complied with for a valid separation of employment by the employee:

1) The employee must be suffering from any disease;

2) The continued employment of the employee is prohibited by law or prejudicial to his/her health as well as to the health of his/her co-employees; and

3) There must be certification by a competent public health authority that the disease is incurable within a period of six (6) months even with proper medical treatment. (Section 5.4.[e], Rule I-A, Ibid.)

Under the Implementing Rules and Regulations, Rule 1, Book VI provides:

Section 8. Disease as a ground for dismissal. — Where the employee suffers from a disease and his continued employment is prohibited by law or prejudicial to his health or to the health of his co-employees, the employer shall not terminate his employment unless there is a certification by a competent public health authority that the disease is of such nature or at such a stage that it cannot be cured within a period of six (6) months even with proper medical treatment. If the disease or ailment can be cured within the period, the employer shall not terminate the employee but shall ask the employee to take a leave. The employer shall reinstate such employee to his former position immediately upon the restoration of his normal health.

As indicated above, there is a process to be followed prior to implementation of this ground. Burden of proof is with the employer to show that compliance has been made with the rules. The same cannot be shifted to the employee. In one case, the employer attempted to place the burden on the employee to show proof that he was already cured of pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB). In resolving in favor of the employee, the Supreme Court held:

“Consistent with the Labor Code state policy of affording protection to labor and of liberal construction of labor laws in favor of the working class, Sec. 8, Rule 1, Book VI, of the Omnibus Rules Implementing the Labor Code provides – Where the employee suffers from a disease and his continued employment is prohibited by law or prejudicial to his health or to the health of his co-employees, the employer shall not terminate his employment, unless there is a certification by a competent public authority that the disease is of such nature or at such a stage, that it cannot be cured within a period of six (6) months even with proper medical treatment. There is absolutely nothing on record to show that such a certification was ever obtained by [the employer] much less that one was issued by a competent public authority …[o]n the contrary, what appears on record is a Medical Certificate dated May 5, 1999 issued by Dr. Lenita C. de Castro certifying to the contrary, i.e., that [the employee] was in fact already fit to return to work. However, [the employer] did not accept the certificate and insisted that [the employee] present one issued by a government physician. For his failure to present such a certificate, [the employee] was penalized with dismissal. Obviously, the condition imposed by [the employer] finds no basis under the law. To reiterate, contrary to [the employer’s] insistence that [the employee] first obtain a medical certificate attesting that he was already cured of pulmonary tuberculosis, the above quoted Sec. 9, Rule 1, Book VI, of the Omnibus Rules is clear that the burden is upon [the employer] not [the employee] to justify the dismissal with a certificate public authority that [the employee’s] disease is at such stage or of such nature that it cannot be cured within six (6) months even with proper medical treatment. For [the employer’s] blatant failure to present one, we can only rule that [the employee’s] dismissal, like that of [the employee], is illegal, invalid and unjustified.” (Tan v. Garrido, G.R. No. 116807, 14 April 1997; Emphasis supplied.)

Accordingly, non-compliance of the rules could result in illegal dismissal and thereby exposing the employer to liabilities.