Reno Foods v. NLM-Katipunan

September 12, 2017 | Author: Cristelle Elaine Collera | Category: Employment, Theft, Crimes, Crime & Justice, Social Institutions
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Financial Assistance/Separation Pay – When Allowed/Disallowed as a Measure of Social Justice G.R. No. 164016 – Reno Foods v. NLM-Katipunan Del Castillo, J. DOCTRINE There is no legal or equitable justification for awarding financial assistance to an employee who was dismissed for stealing company property. The employee need not be convicted of a crime to be denied separation pay.

IMPORTANT PEOPLE Nenita Capor – respondent-employee FACTS 1. As part of an SOP to search all employees upon leaving company premises, respondent’s bag was searched one day. The guard found 6 Reno canned goods wrapped in nylon leggings inside her bag. 2. Petitioner accorded respondent several opportunities to explain her side, with the assistance of respondent-union.  Even after petitioner gave respondent a Notice of Termination, she was given yet another chance through a grievance conference. Unfortunately, petitioner still found reason to terminate her. 3. Petitioner filed a criminal case for qualified theft. The prosecutor found probable cause, and an Information was filed. 4. Respondent filed a complaint for illegal dismissal, praying for reinstatement, backwages, and damages. She claimed the petitioner planted the evidence in her bag to avoid paying her retirement benefits (she was due to retire in a year). 5. LA found respondent guilty of serious misconduct, which is a just cause for termination. 6. NLRC affirmed LA but added an award of financial assistance (1/2 month pay for every year of service). 7. CA affirmed NLRC.  On the date the CA issued its decision, respondent manifested that she was acquitted of the criminal case of qualified theft on the ground of reasonable doubt. ISSUE with HOLDING 1. W/N the grant of financial assistance to an employee, validly dismissed for theft of company property, is proper – No.  Separation pay is only warranted when the cause for termination is not attributable to the employee (Arts. 298-299), and in cases of illegal dismissal when reinstatement is no longer possible. It shall not be allowed when the employee was dismissed for serious misconduct, which is a just cause.  Jurisprudence has classified theft of company property as serious misconduct and denied separation pay to an employee who does so.  Length of service and a previously clean record cannot be invoked in the employee’s favor in this case. An employer-employee relationship is symbiotic; both parties must benefit from mutual loyalty and service. If the employer treated the employee well, accorded him fairness and adequate compensation, it is only fair to expect an employee to return this with respect and loyalty. Thus, it is actually more insulting to a fair employer if a longtime employee betrays him.  A criminal conviction is not necessary to find just cause for termination. An employee’s acquittal in a criminal case grounded on reasonable doubt will not preclude a determination in a labor case that he is guilty of serious misconduct. DISPOSITIVE PORTION Petition granted. Award of financial assistance deleted.

DIGESTER: Cristelle Elaine Collera


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