Employee’s Duty of Obedience

The employees are bound to follow reasonable and lawful orders of the employer which are in connection with their work. Failure to do so may be a ground for dismissal or other disciplinary actions.

Under Article 282 of the Labor Code of the Philippines, willful disobedience to lawful orders by the employee is one of the just causes for termination of employment by employer.

Requirements of Willful Disobedience as a Ground for Termination

The Court has set the guidelines for the dismissal based on disobedience.

In Gold City Integrated Port Services, Inc. v. NLRC, G.R. No. 86000, 21 September 1990, the Court explained that willful disobedience of the employer’s lawful orders, as a just cause for dismissal of an employee, envisages the concurrence of at least two requisites:

  1. the employee’s assailed conduct must have been willful or intentional, the willfulness being characterized by a wrongful and perverse attitude; and
  2. the order violated must have been reasonable, lawful, made known to the employee and must pertain to the duties which he had been engaged to discharge.

In Mañebo v. NLRC, G.R. No. 107721, 10 January 1994, the court reiterated that in order that an employer may terminate an employee on the ground of willful disobedience to the employer’s orders, regulations or instructions, it must be established that the said orders, regulations or instructions are:

  1. reasonable and lawful;
  2. sufficiently known to the employee; and,
  3. in connection with the duties which the employee has been engaged to discharge. (See AHS/Philippines, Inc. vs. CA, G.R. No. 111807, June 14, 1996.)

Policy must be Strictly Adhered to

In addition to the above requirements, in Permex, Inc. vs. NLRC, G.R. No. 125031, January 24, 2000, the Court held that where a violation of company policy or breach of company rules and regulations was found to have been tolerated by management, then the same could not serve as a basis for termination. (Citing Tide Water Associated Oil Co. vs. Victory Employees and Laborers’ Association, 85 Phil. 166 [1949].)

In Conti vs. NLRC, G.R. No. 119253, April 10, 1997, it was ruled that the dismissal of an employee due to an alleged violation of a company policy, where it was found that the violation was acquiesced in by said employee’s immediate superiors and the policy violated had not always been adhered to by the management, is an act not amounting to a breach of trust. Therefore, it is not a justification for said employee’s dismissal.

Damage to Employer is not Important

Damage to employer is not important in dismissal based on willful disobedience. (See Nuez vs. NLRC, infra.)

Disobedience Need not be Habitual

Habituality is not an element of willful disobedience. The law warrants the dismissal of an employee without making any distinction between a first offender and a habitual delinquent where the totality of the evidence was sufficient to warrant his dismissal. In protecting the rights of the laborer, the law authorizes neither oppression nor self-destruction of the employer. (See Aparente vs. NLRC, G.R. No. 117652, April 27, 2000.)

Cases

  1. The formal challenge brought by employee of the reasonableness or the motives of a company’s policy is not an excuse for the employee not to obey said policy. (GTE Directories Corp. vs. Sanchez, May 27, 1991.)
  2. Damage to employer is not important. Although there was no damage to the employer, the dismissal of the driver for insubordination was upheld. The lack of resulting damage is unimportant when the heart of the charge is the crooked and anarchic attitude of the employee towards his employer. (Nuez vs. NLRC, G.R. No. 107574 December 28, 1994.)

Last Edited: Friday, August 19, 2011

Caveat: Subsequent court and administrative rulings, or changes to, or repeal of, laws, rules and regulations may have rendered the whole or part of this article inaccurate or obsolete.
dishonesty, disobedience, grounds for dismissal, just causes, Termination of Employment
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12 comments

  1. alma tomas Comment:
    July 6th, 2011 at 05:42 pm

    I own a small retail business. My problem is with an employee who disobeys a lawful order twice already. There is also misconduct. These are both grounds for termination but how can I prove that he committed those offenses? He refused to sign the memo I prepared suspending him. He also refused suspension telling the payroll clerk that he is present that day so better compute his daily wage. Because he refused to sign, I tried getting 2 witnesses to sign but to no avail for fear of this person. This person wants to leave the company but doesn’t want to resign because he wants to get separation pay. I in turn don’t want to give because he is not deserving of it after the way he treats me – disrespectful. Today he punched-in his time card to get his daily wage but does not do his duties. What shall I do?

    [Reply]

    Erwin Reply:

    Aside from mentioned his charges in your memo, state as well that ignoring to sign or if he doesn’t agree, reply and explain him self, will mean pleading guilty to all mentioned charges.

    If he have an immediate superior or any higher position that he reports to, that person can help you give his own evaluation/assessment and his sign is enough to prove whatever act of disobedience he have done.

    If you have a business, I assume you have a company lawyer too. you can consult and have this person investigated to make sure you (business) is ready for any legal matters that this person might find to sue you. Make sure all legal obligations of this business is taken cared of.

    [Reply]

    Erwin Reply:

    Hi,

    Aside from mentioned his charges in your memo, state as well that ignoring to sign or if he doesn’t agree, reply and explain him self, will mean pleading guilty to all mentioned charges.

    If he have an immediate superior or any higher position that he reports to, that person can help you give his own evaluation/assessment and his sign is enough to prove whatever act of disobedience he have done.

    If you have a business, I assume you have a company lawyer too. you can consult and have this person investigated to make sure you (business) is ready for any legal matters that this person might find to sue you. Make sure all legal obligations of this business is taken cared of.

    [Reply]

  2. Ignacio B. Rosales Jr. Comment:
    September 15th, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    is there any that may possible come from an employee who has been temporarily ceased her work due to abated sales (a case in a grocery store). Please send any response on this query for us to pander upon.

    [Reply]

  3. Is it okey that even if its a lunch break we cannot hve our
    compiscated cellphones?then,is it okey too that even when
    Our higher ranked officer knew that i really do hve high
    fever that i almost fainted they dont allow me to go home
    because for them is okey!?i really need an advice

    [Reply]

  4. darz allesa Comment:
    January 23rd, 2013 at 02:32 pm

    we are a higher institution of learning. our accountant was relieved from her post and was assigned to other office not related to her work. my query is that, is it valid to relieved her from her post leaving her with a floating status?

    [Reply]

  5. If a supervisor asks to talk to a subordinate, presumably for work related matters, and the subordinates says “I don’t want to talk to you”…does that constitute disobedience?

    [Reply]

    Vic Reply:

    That’s unprofessional and disrespect. That should be in the handbook with the equivalent sanction for it.

    [Reply]

  6. Hi I would like to consult with you if it is considered disobedience if I refuse to follow my superior’s order to relocate or transfer to a new factory (or at least not right away). I was asked to move to a far location (i.e. Cagayan de Oro from Manila) right away. Do I have the right to ask for some time (say 1 month) to settle my affairs in my present location first ? When I initially asked for 2 weeks, I was told it was urgent and I needed to go. When I offered to go first and take care of urgent matters there and then come back temporarily to settle my affairs here, I was told it is okay but this would be deducted from my benefits (i.e. airfare, time, etc.) What is my right under the law ?

    [Reply]

  7. are employees of a contractor/service provider allowed by law to go “welga”?

    [Reply]

  8. hi.. can you help me.. I was given a preventive suspension as they claimed that I have done disobedience on a call where infact the concern has been resolved. only the customer insisted on something that I cannot provide as it is not available. and the customer only had this idea of being insistent as they had broke a centain rule they implement just to avoid customer to threat the business. this includes un availability of manager. request cannot be granted as per policy of the company. customer insistent as once when he asked for a manager, what cannot be granted as per policy was given to the customer. just to stop customer to scare the business. I on my part has done what was thought to me to do and it had resulted to impoliteness. can you help
    me with this issue

    [Reply]

  9. Hi! Is it right and just for the employer to terminate employee because of her facebook posts? For example, she posted that she’s not appreciated on her eeforts and she needs to have a plan b or plan c”? Your reply is greatly appreciated. Thanks!

    [Reply]

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