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Opinion

Insubordination: Man’s original sin, employees’ worst offense

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez - The Freeman

The fall of every employee from the grace usually bestowed by employers at the start of the employment relationship usually takes place when he begins to disobey the instructions of his employer and superiors. In fact, disobedience was also the original sin of man. When Adam disobeyed God, he did so knowingly, willfully, intentionally and with full consent of his will. He cannot justify his offense by alleging that he was merely tempted by a woman. He had to own his fault and accept the full consequences of his act. He had his own free will and his action was the result of his own will.

Under Article 297, formerly 282 of the Labor Code, the employer is justified to terminate the employment of any employee, who willfully disobeys a lawful and reasonable order given to him by his superiors in relation to his job. His job includes the tasks, the duties and responsibilities listed in his job and position description, plus those that are added through job enrichment and mergers of positions, as well as those contingent to daily or regularly added tasks as may be given to him from time to time, as long as such added responsibilities are germane to his main duties and obligations. The employer has the prerogative to assign work, to transfer employees from one assignment to another and even to abolish certain positions and merge two or more jobs. These are inherent in his ownership of the business and parts of his property rights.

When an employee accepts a job, he submits himself to the authority of the employer. He gives up a major portion of his freedom and autonomy, like the control of his daily schedules, the use of his knowledge, skills, talents and expertise, as well as his behavior in the workplace. He cannot just do as he pleases as there are rules and protocols to follow. There are volumes of outputs that must be delivered, there are standards of quality that must be adhered to, and there are deadlines that have to be met. There are company manuals and standard operating procedures to be followed and there are goals and objectives to be fulfilled. The contract of employer-employee relationship does not only provide for salaries and benefits. It entails grave and tremendous obligations and responsibilities.

In the case of ADLR (hidden to protect his honor) versus ABS-CBN (GR242875, August 28, 2020), this video editor of ABS reported to work while drunk and then touched the buttocks of a female co-employee. He was dismissed after due process and the dismissal was upheld as valid. In San Miguel Corporation versus RG (GR 200815, August 24, 2020), a long-time senior employee of SMC was dismissed based on an affidavit submitted by a supplier of outsourced services, that she demanded 25 percent commission or kickback. Her dismissal was held as a valid exercise of authority and management prerogative. In Nippon Express versus MJD (GR217970, June 17, 2020), the subordinate's indiscretion in bypassing her immediate superior caused a major labor dispute that led to millions of backwages paid to such superior.

In Mark Samillano versus Valdez Security (GR 239396, June 23, 2020), a security guard disobeyed his superiors who ordered his transfer to a new assignment. He lost his case of illegal dismissal. The worst was in the case of AP versus Sitel (GR 240484, March 9, 2020), when a newly promoted supervisor refused to coordinate with his counterparts in other units.  When he was reminded to obey, he claimed that he was pressured and he tendered his resignation. The Supreme Court dismissed his complaint for illegal dismissal. A college professor, who was also the faculty union president, was dismissed by the university for uttering profanity to a minor female student. This was in Adamson Union versus Adamson (GR 227070, March 9, 2020).

Thus, it is becoming a pattern that the downfall of many employees always springs from their willful disobedience of their employers' just and reasonable rules. Insubordination, the original sin of man, is still man's most notorious path towards perdition and misfortune.

LABOR CODE

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