Serious Misconduct concept
Misconduct has been defined as improper or wrong conduct. It is the transgression of some established and definite rule of action, a forbidden act, a dereliction of duty, willful in character, and implies wrongful intent and not mere error in judgment. (Austria vs. NLRC, G.R. No. 124382, August 16, 1999.)
Elements of Serious Misconduct
To be a valid ground for termination of employment, the following elements must be present:
- The misconduct must be serious;
- It must relate to the performance of the employee’s duties; and,
- Must show that the employee has become unfit to continue working for the employer.
Mere Error in Judgment is not Misconduct
Misconduct is a transgression of some established and definite rule of action, a forbidden act, a dereliction of duty, willful in character, and implies wrongful intent and not mere error in judgment. (Colegio de San Juan de Letran-Calamba vs. Villas, G.R. No. 137795, March 26, 2003)
Mere error in judgment cannot qualify as misconduct (much less a serious one) because of lack wrongful intent. As held in NLRC vs. Salgarino, G.R. No. 164376, July 31, 2006, it is not sufficient that the act or conduct complained of has violated some established rules or policies. It is equally important and required that the act or conduct must have been performed with wrongful intent.
Misconduct must be Serious
The misconduct to be serious must be of such grave and aggravated character and not merely trivial and unimportant.
Misconduct must be in Relation to Employee’s Work
Misconduct, however serious, must, nevertheless, be in connection with the employee’s work to constitute just cause for his separation.
- The employee’s (an accounting manager) act of willfully understating the company’s profits or financial position, committed as it was in order to “save” costs, which to her warped mind, was supposed to benefit her employer, partakes serious misconduct. It was not merely a violation of company policy, but of the law itself, and put the employer at risk of being made legally liable. The dismissal in this case is warranted. An employer cannot be compelled to retain in its employ someone whose services is inimical to its interests. (Llamas vs. Ocean Gateway, G.R. No. 179293, August 14, 2009.)
- Two traffic operators who placed free long distance calls was dismissed by PLDT. The dismissal was upheld as valid. The dishonesty commited by the erring employee qualifies as serious misconduct especially that it goes to the very heart and essence of the company. Long distance call is the lifeblood of PLDT. (PLDT vs. Montemayor, G.R. No. 88626, October 12, 1990.)
- A ticket freight clerk was dismissed for dishonesty for charging to his VISA credit card some plane tickets in spite of the cash payment made by passengers. The dismissal was for a just cause. (PAL vs. NLRC, G.R. No. 117038. September 25, 1997.)
- The case involved toll guards assigned at the North Luzon Tollway, Bulacan interchange, who were caught accepting bribe in the form of cash and a dog from a motorist who was suspected of illegally transporting dogs. The dismissal was upheld as for just cause. Bribery constitutes serious misconduct. (Phil. National Construction vs. NLRC, G.R. No. 128345, May 18, 1999.)
Last Edited: Friday, August 19, 2011