Dismissal of employee done by employer in GOOD FAITH

In San Miguel Corporation v. Javate, Jr., we affirmed the consistent findings and conclusions of the Labor Arbiter, National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC), and Court of Appeals that the employee was illegally dismissed since he was still fit to resume his work; but the employer's liability was mitigated by its evident good faith in terminating the employee's services based on the terms of its Health, Welfare and Retirement Plan. Hence, the employee was ordered reinstated to his former position without loss of seniority and other privileges appertaining to him prior to his dismissal, but the award of backwages was limited to only one year considering the mitigating circumstance of good faith attributed to the employer. (G.R. No. 164820, December 8, 2008; G.R. No. 54244, January 27, 1992)

The employee was terminated for her continuous absence without permission. Although we found that the employee was indeed guilty of breach of trust and violation of company rules, we still declared the employee's dismissal illegal as it was too severe a penalty considering that she had served the employer company for 21 years, it was her first offense, and her leave to study the French language would ultimately benefit the employer who no longer had to spend for translation services. Even so, other than ordering the employee's reinstatement, we awarded the said employee backwages limited to a period of two years, given that the employer acted without malice or bad faith in terminating the employee's services. (G.R. No. 164820, December 8, 2008; G.R. No. 87673, January 24, 1992)

The employee in Itogon-Suyoc Mines, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Commission, was found guilty of breach of trust for stealing high-grade stones from his employer. However, taking into account the employee's 23 years of previously unblemished service to his employer and absent any showing that his continued employment would result in the employer's oppression or self-destruction, we considered the employee's dismissal a drastic punishment. We deemed that the ends of social and compassionate justice would be served by ordering the employee reinstated but without backwages in view of the employer's obvious good faith. (G.R. No. 164820, December 8, 2008; G.R. No. L-54280, September 30, 1982)
In San Miguel Corporation v. Secretary of Labor, the employee was dismissed after he was caught buying from his co-workers medicines that were given gratis to them by the employer company, and re-selling said medicines, in subversion of the employer's efforts to give medical benefits to its workers. We likewise found in this case that the employee's dismissal was too drastic a punishment in light of his voluntary confession that he committed trafficking of company-supplied medicines out of necessity, as well as his promise not to repeat the same mistake. We ordered the employee's reinstatement but without backwages, again, in consideration of the employer's good faith in dismissing him. (G.R. No. 164820, December 8, 2008; G.R. No. L-39195, May 16, 1975)

Reference may also be made to the case of Manila Electric Company v. National Labor Relations Commission, wherein the employee was found responsible for the irregularities in the installation of electrical connections to a residence, for which reason, his services were terminated by the employer's company. We, however, affirmed the findings of the NLRC and the Labor Arbiter that the employee should not have been dismissed considering his 20 years of service to the employer without any previous derogatory record and his being awarded in the past two commendations for honesty. We thus ruled that the employee's reinstatement is proper, without backwages, bearing in mind the employer's good faith in terminating his services. (G.R. No. 164820, December 8, 2008; G.R. No. 78763, July 12, 1989)

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