Employee's dismissal for using employer's vehicle without consent

The Supreme Court has previously upheld as legal the dismissal of employees for using the employer's vehicle for their own private purposes without prior permission or authority. In Soco v. Mercantile Corporation of Davao,[1] the Supreme Court held that “a rule prohibiting employees from using company vehicles for private purposes without authority from management is a reasonable one.” Thus, an employee who used the company vehicle twice in pursuing his own personal interests, on company time and deviating from his authorized route, all without permission, was held to have been validly dismissed, for, as the Supreme Court held, to condone the employee's conduct will erode the discipline that an employer should uniformly apply so that it can expect compliance to the same rules and regulations by its other employees.[2] In another case, Family Planning Organization of the Philippines v. NLRC,[3] the Supreme Court also affirmed the dismissal of an employee who used the company vehicle twice without permission and for personal reasons, noting that employees must yield obedience to the rule against unauthorized use of company vehicles because this is proper and necessary for the conduct of the employer's business or concern.[4]While the High Court remains invariably committed towards social justice and the protection of the working class from exploitation and unfair treatment, it, nevertheless, recognizes that management also has its own rights which, as such, are entitled to respect and enforcement in the interest of simple fair play.[5] The aim is always to strike a balance between an avowed predilection for labor, on the one hand, and the maintenance of the legal rights of capital, on the other.[6] Indeed, the Supreme Court should be ever mindful of the legal norm that justice is in every case for the deserving, to be dispensed with in the light of established facts, the applicable law, and existing jurisprudence.[7]

[1] 232 Phil. 488, 495 (1987).

[2] Soco v. Mercantile Corporation of Davao, supra.

[3] G.R. No. 75907, March 23, 1992.

[4] Family Planning Organization of the Philippines v. NLRC, supra, at 421.

[5] Alcosero v. NLRC, 351 Phil. 368, 373 (1998).

[6] Homeowners Savings and Loan Association, Inc. v. NLRC, 330 Phil. 979, 985 (1996).

[7] Vigilla v. Philippine College Of Criminology Inc., G.R. No. 200094, June 10, 2013.