Question:

Universal Milling Company (UNIVERSAL) and Mara’s Canteen (MARA’S) executed an agreement that UNIVERSAL employees patronizing MARA’S could buy food on credit and enjoy a 25% discount provided that they present their Identification Card (ID) and wear their company uniform. Nikko, an employee of UNIVERSAL, used the ID of Gab, a co-employee in buying food at MARA’S. An alert employee of MARA’S discovered the misrepresentation of Nikko but not without engaging him in a heated argument. Nikko boxed MARA’S employee resulting in serious physical Injuries to the latter. UNIVERSAL dismissed Nikko from the company. Nikko sued UNIVERSAL for illegal dismissal.

As Labor Arbiter, how would you decide the case? Discuss fully.

(Bar Examination in Labor Law, 1995)

Suggested Answer:

Nikko’s dismissal is not justified. While there is a valid ground to discipline Nikko for his misrepresentation in using the ID of his co-employee and for boxing MARA’s employee, which together may be characterized as misconduct, the nature and gravity of his infraction does not warrant his dismissal from service. For misconduct to be a valid ground for termination, the following requisites must be present:

  1. The misconduct must be serious;
  2. It must relate to the performance of the employee’s duties; and,
  3. Must show that the employee has become unfit to continue working for the employer.

In this case, it will be noted that number 2 and 3 above are absent.

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