High Court says employee with "attitude problem" may be fired from work

An employee who cannot get along with his co-employees is detrimental to the company for he can upset and strain the working environment. Without the necessary teamwork and synergy, the organization cannot function well. Thus, management has the prerogative to take the necessary action to correct the situation and protect its organization. When personal differences between employees and management affect the work environment, the peace of the company is affected. Thus, an employee's attitude problem is a valid ground for his termination. It is a situation analogous to loss of trust and confidence that must be duly proved by the employer. Similarly, compliance with the twin requirement of notice and hearing must also be proven by the employer.

But the employee's supposed “attitude problem” must be shown by clear and convincing evidence. The mere mention of negative feedback from the employee's team members is not sufficient proof of her attitude problem. And her failure to refute the employer's allegation of her negative attitude does not amount to admission.(G.R. No. 154410)

Nonetheless, Article 282 (e) of the Labor Code talks of other analogous causes or those which are susceptible of comparison to another in general or in specific detail. For an employee to be validly dismissed for a cause analogous to those enumerated in Article 282, the cause must involve a voluntary and/or willful act or omission of the employee. (G.R. No. 169549)

A cause analogous to serious misconduct is a voluntary and/or willful act or omission attesting to an employee's moral depravity. Theft committed by an employee against a person other than his employer, if proven by substantial evidence, is a cause analogous to serious misconduct. (G.R. No. 169549)In other words, although "attitude problem" is not one of those specifically enumerated under the Labor Code as one of the grounds for the valid dismissal of an employee, the Supreme court has considered as included in the term "analogous causes" because, if such behavior already adversely affects the working environment, the employer is justified in believing that it is a serious misconduct.

However, it must be recalled that allegations of "attitude problem" should be substantiated with sufficient proof. In labor law, the proof required is substantial. Substantial evidence is defined as such amount of relevant evidence which a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to justify a conclusion.

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