Work Supervision

1. Summary

⦁ Work supervision is a management prerogative.

⦁ Employers are required to observe due diligence in the supervision of its employees.

⦁ Employers are vicariously liable for injury committed to third persons by their employees while doing their work.

2. Concept

“Under the doctrine of management prerogative, every employer has the inherent right to regulate, according to his own discretion and judgment, all aspects of employment, including… work supervision.” (Rural Bank of Cantilan, Inc. v. Julve, G.R. No. 169750, 27 February 2007)

Work supervision – refers to the oversight, guidance, and direction on the employee in matters relating to work.

3. Due diligence in supervision

Due diligence in the supervision of employees includes the formulation of suitable rules and regulations for the guidance of employees and the issuance of proper instructions intended for the protection of the public and persons with whom the employer has relations through his or its employees and the imposition of necessary disciplinary measures upon employees in case of breach or as may be warranted to ensure the performance of acts indispensable to the business of and beneficial to their employer. To this, we add that actual implementation and monitoring of consistent compliance with said rules should be the constant concern of the employer, acting through dependable supervisors who should regularly report on their supervisory functions. (Metro Manila Transit Corporation v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 104408, 21 June 1993)

4. Vicarious liability

Article 2180 of the Civil Code provides that a person is not only liable for one’s own quasi-delictual acts, but also for those persons for whom one is responsible for. This liability is popularly known as vicarious or imputed liability. To sustain claims against employers for the acts of their employees, the following requisites must be established:

1) That the employee was chosen by the employer personally or through another;

2) That the service to be rendered in accordance with orders which the employer has the authority to give at all times; and,

3) That the illicit act of the employee was on the occasion or by reason of the functions entrusted to him. (Sps. Buenaventura v. Apostol, G.R. No. 163609, 27 November 2008)

a. Pater familias (Good father of a family)

Although the employer is not the actual tortfeasor, the law makes him vicariously liable on the basis of the civil law principle of pater familias for failure to exercise due care and vigilance over the acts of one’s subordinates to prevent damage to another. (Reyes v. Doctolero, G.R. No. 185597, 02 August 2017)

b. Injury is related to employee’s performance of work

Significantly, to make the employee liable under paragraphs 5 and 6 of Article 2180, it must be established that the injurious or tortuous act was committed at the time the employee was performing his functions. (Sps. Buenaventura v. Apostol, supra.)

c. Requires employer-employee relationship

The rule on vicarious liability is applicable only if there is an employer-employee relationship. This employer-employee relationship cannot be presumed but must be sufficiently proven by the complainant. The complainant must also show that the employee was acting within the scope of his assigned task when the tort complained of was committed. It is only then that the defendant, as employer, may find it necessary to interpose the defense of due diligence in the selection and supervision of employees. (Reyes v. Doctolero, supra.)

/Updated: December 28, 2022

Content Details

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