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Home Legal Advice DearPao Willful disobedience of unlawful order not ground for termination

Willful disobedience of unlawful order not ground for termination


Dear PAO,
I am an inbound sales agent in one of the call centers in Taguig City. I have been working in the same company for five years now. Last week, my supervisor asked me to prepare her reports and specifically instructed me to increase the number of our sales in order for our team to meet the quota of our company. However, I refused to follow her and made the reports based on the real sales of our team. Thereafter, my supervisor told me that the company could terminate me on the ground of gross insubordination and disobedience to her order. Is this true? I am a consistent top sales agent and I don’t want to lose my job. Please answer my question.

Dear Maricris,
Based on your narration, it appears that your situation is governed by Article 297 (former Article 282) of the Labor Code of the Philippines, which states:

“An employer may terminate an employment for any of the following causes:

“(a) Serious misconduct or willful disobedience by the employee of the lawful orders of his employer or representative in connection with his work;

“(b) Gross and habitual neglect by the employee of his duties;

“(c) Fraud or willful breach by the employee of the trust reposed in him by his employer or duly authorized representative;

“(d) Commission of a crime or offense by the employee against the person of his employer or any immediate member of his family or his duly authorized representatives; and

“(e) Other causes analogous to the foregoing.”

In the case of Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines Inc., et al. vs IBM Local I, et al. (GR 169967, Nov. 23, 2016), the Supreme Court, through Associate Justice Bienvenido Reyes, discussed gross insubordination or willful disobedience:

“xxx willful disobedience of the employer’s lawful orders, as a just cause for dismissal of an employee, envisages the concurrence of at least two (2) requisites: (1) the employee’s assailed conduct must have been willful, that is 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.” (Emphases supplied)

Applying the above-mentioned law and the jurisprudence in your situation, your company may only terminate your employment if the former will be able to adduce evidence that your conduct had been willful, that is characterized by a wrongful and perverse attitude and that the order you violated must have been reasonable, lawful, made known to you and must pertain to the duties, which you had been engaged to discharge. Your supervisor told you to alter the sales of your team to make it appear that you met the quota of your company; it was not a lawful and reasonable order. Hence, your decision of disobeying your supervisor’s order is in accordance with the Labor Code and cannot constitute as a ground for your termination.

This opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Thus, the opinion may vary when the facts are changed or further elaborated. We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.

Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to dearpao@manilatimes.net.

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