American Express Transnational vs Borre

G.R. No. 228320, July 15, 2020

FACTS:

In 2005, AITI hired Borre as a company driver.  AITI’s Leisure Team requested for the services of a company driver but Borre refused to drive.

Prior to the above-cited incident, Borre also refused to drive for executives on 3 instances. The management gave Borre notice and opportunity to formally explain himself. Borre generally denied the allegations. During the investigation and hearings it was found that Borre failed to drive because he left his drivers license.

Borre was dismissed from employment for will disobedience.

The Labor Arbiter found Borre to be validly dismissed based on just cause. The NLRC affirmed the Labor Arbiter’s factual findings.

The CA affirmed the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC’s finding that Borre was legally dismissed for willful disobedience however, the CA opted to grant separation pay as a form of financial assistance to Borre. It ruled that while Borre’s act of insubordination or disobedience may be arrogant and mean, it was not serious or grave in nature nor did it reflect on his moral character.

ISSUE:

Whether Borre shall be entitled of separation pay as a measure of social justice.

HELD:

NO. Generally, an employee dismissed for any of the just causes under Article 282 of the Labor Code, is not entitled to separation pay. However The Court has allowed the grant of separation pay based on equity and as a measure of social justice. This is only applicable on exceptional or peculiar circumstance (inefficiency, poor physical condition,).

In this case the cause of the termination of his employment amounts to willful disobedience under Article 282(a) of the Labor Code, and the Court does no find enough reason that would warrant such generosity to award separation pay or financial assistance. The policy of social justice is not intended to countenance wrongdoing simply because it is committed by the underprivileged

Those who invoke social justice may do so only if their hands are clean and their motives blameless and not simply because they happen to be poor. This great policy of our Constitution is not meant for the protection of those who have proved they are not worthy of it, like the workers who have tainted the cause of labor with the blemishes of their own character

Generally, an employee dismissed for any of the just causes under Article 282 of the Labor Code,26 is not entitled to separation pay. The law is clear. Separation pay is only warranted: (1) when the cause of termination is not attributable to the employee’s fault, such as those provided under Articles 283 and 284 of the Labor Code; and (2) in cases of illegal dismissal in which reinstatement is no longer feasible.

EXPN: The Court has allowed the grant of separation pay based on equity and as a measure of social justice. This exception is justified by the positive commands for the promotion of social justice and the protection of the rights of the workers replete in our Constitution.

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