Case Digest: Lores Realty, et al. v. Pacia (2nd Version)

G.R. No. 171189 : March 9, 2011

LORES REALTY ENTERPRISES, INC., LORENZO Y. SUMULONG III, Petitioners, v. VIRGINIA E. PACIA,Respondent.

MENDOZA, J.:

FACTS:


Respondent Virginia E. Pacia(Pacia)was hired by Lores Realty Enterprises, Inc.(LREI). LREI's acting general manager, petitioner Sumulong, on two occasions, directed Pacia to prepare checks as partial payment for LREI's outstanding obligation to the Bank of the Philippine Islands. Pacia was slow in obeying the order.When asked to explain for her refusal to immediately follow the directive, Pacia reasoned out that the funds in LREI's account were not sufficient to cover the amounts to be indicated in the checks and that she only wanted to protect LREI from liability under the Bouncing Checks Law. Pacia received a notice of termination stating that she was being dismissed because of her willful disobedience and their loss of trust and confidence in her.Pacia then filed a Complaint for illegal dismissal. The Labor Arbiter (LA) rendered a decision finding that the dismissal of Pacia was for a just and valid cause.On appeal, the NLRC reversed the LA's Decision. The CA affirmed the decision of the NLRC. It held that LREI and Sumulong failed to establish with substantial evidence that the dismissal of Pacia was for a just cause.It found that Pacias initial reluctance to obey the orders of her superiors was for a good reason.

ISSUE: Whether or not Pacia was illegally dismissed.

HELD: Court of Appeals decision is affirmed.

LABOR LAW

The offense of willful disobedience requires the concurrence of 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.
There is nothing unlawful in the directive of Sumulong to prepare checks in payment of LREI's obligations. The availability or unavailability of sufficient funds to cover the check is immaterial in the physical preparation of the checks. Pacias initial reluctance to prepare the checks, however, which was seemingly an act of disrespect and defiance, was for honest and well intentioned reasons. Protecting LREI and Sumulong from liability under the Bouncing Checks Lawwas foremost in her mind.It was not wrongful or willful. Neither can it be considered an obstinate defiance of company authority.The Court takes into consideration that Pacia, despite her initial reluctance, eventually did prepare the checks on the same day she was tasked to do it.

DENIED

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