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.
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:
- the employee’s assailed conduct must have been willful or intentional, the willfulness being characterized by a wrongful and perverse attitude; and
- 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:
- reasonable and lawful;
- sufficiently known to the employee; and,
- 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 .)
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.)
- 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.)
- 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