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TERMINATION OF EMPLOYMENT BY EMPLOYER a. Obra maintained that there was no wrongful intent on his part.

Inherent Right to Discipline is subject to reasonable state regulation in the exercise b. Holcim countered that Obra's taking of the wire for his personal use, without
of its police power authority from the management, showed his intent to gain. Moreover, he
G.R. 220998 – HOLCIM PHIL. INC. v. RENANTE OBRA refused to submit his bag for inspection and attempted to corrupt Castillo by
PERLAS-BERNABE, J. trying to convince him not to file a report. His guilt was also shown when he
hurriedly tried to return the scrap to his office.
Respondent Renante Obra worked as a packhouse operator in one of Holcim's plants for 12. The LA dismissed Obra's complaint, and ruled that he was validly dismissed from
nineteen (19) years. One day, when he was about to leave the plant premises, the security service and not entitled to reinstatement, backwages or other money claims because
guard on duty, Kristian Castillo, asked him to submit himself and the backpack he was he committed the crime of theft.
carrying for inspection. Obra refused and confided to Castillo that he had a piece of scrap 13. The NLRC reversed the LA's ruling and held that dismissal from service was unduly
wire in his bag and requested the latter not to report him. Obra asked Castillo if he could harsh since his misconduct was not so gross. In addition, Holcim did not even suffer
bring the scrap wire outside the premises, and if this was not possible, he would return the any damage since Obra didn't take the scrap outside the premises. Obra also did not
wire to the office. Castillo ignored these and decided to report him anyway. Obra was hold a position of trust and confidence. Also, his length of service was also considered.
preventively suspended and subsequently dismissed. The LA held that Obra was validly 14. The NLRC awarded separation pay instead of reinstatement, claiming strained relations
dismissed, while the NLRC reversed. The Court decided that Obra was illegally dismissed, between employer and employee.
but the court removed the payment of back wages since Holcim was in good faith in 15. Holcim filed an MR but was denied. They therefore filed a petition with the CA.
dismissing Obra. 16. CA dismissed such petition and upheld the decision of NLRC. The CA emphasized the
fact that Obra volunteered the information regarding the scrap to Castillo and offered to
DOCTRINE return the same.
There is no question that the employer has the inherent right to discipline, including that of 17. Holcim filed an MR but was denied.
dismissing its employees for just causes. This right is, however, subject to reasonable 18. Hence this petition.
regulation by the State in the exercise of its police power. Accordingly, the finding that an
employee violated company rules and regulations is subject to scrutiny by the Court to ISSUE with HOLDING
determine if the dismissal is justified and, if so, whether the penalty imposed is 1. WON Obra was illegally dismissed. – NO.
commensurate to the gravity of his offense
Supreme Court:
FACTS a. Employer has the inherent right to discipline but such right is subject to reasonable
1. Respondent Renante Obra ("Obra") worked as packhouse operator1 in the La Union regulation by the State in the exercise of its police power.
Plant of Holcim for 19 years since March 1994. b. Misconduct is not so gross as to deserve dismissal. It is unduly harsh or oppressive.
2. One afternoon in July 2013, around 4 PM, Obra was about to exit the plant when the i. Obra had a mistaken belief that they were allowed to take out scrap for disposal.
security guard on duty Kristian Castillo ("Castillo") asked him to submit himself and the ii. Obra showed remorse for his mistake.
backpack he was carrying for inspection. iii. Holcim did not suffer any damages.
3. Obra refused and confided to Castillo that he has a piece of scrap electrical wiring in iv. respondent deserves compassion and humane understanding more than
his bag. He also asked Castillo not to report the incident to management. condemnation, especially considering that he had been in petitioner's employ for
4. Obra also clarified with Castillo if he (Obra) could bring the scrap wire outside the nineteen (19) years already, and this is the first time that he had been involved in
premises, and if ever it is forbidden, Obra told Castillo that he himself would return such taking company property
scrap to his locker in the Packhouse Office. v. Obra is not a managerial employee regularly handling significant amounts of
5. Castillo did not agree. This prompted Obra to hurriedly go back to the office to deposit property.
said scrap wire. vi. Not considered serious misconduct under Article 297.
6. Subsequently, Obra received a Notice of Gap five (5) days after, requiring him to show 1. To constitute a valid cause for dismissal within the text and meaning of
cause why no disciplinary action should be taken against him. Obra was also put on Article 297 of the Labor Code, the employee's misconduct must be
preventive suspension for 30 days serious, i.e., of such grave and aggravated character and not merely
7. Obra, in another statement, reiterated that he had no intention to steal and that the trivial or unimportant, as in this case where the item which respondent
scrap wire, which he he asked from a contractor, was for disposal anyway. tried to takeout was practically of no value to petitioner.
8. Holcim dismissed Obra in August 2013, stating that it found no merit in his claim that DISPOSITIVE PORTION
he didn't know a gate pass was required to take out a piece of scrap wire, since he has WHEREFORE, the petition is PARTLY GRANTED . The Decision dated February 13, 2015
been working with Holcim for 19 years already. and the Resolution dated September 7, 2015 of the Court of Appeals in CAG.R. SP No.
9. Obra filed an MR with Holcim, and prayed for a lower penalty, considering his length of 136413 are hereby AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION deleting the award of separation pay
service and his lack of intent to steal. and in lieu thereof, directing the reinstatement of respondent Renante J. Obra to his former
10. Holcim denied such MR. position without backwages. SO ORDERED.
11. Obra filed a complaint with the NLRC LA for illegal dismissal and money claims.

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Basically, supervises the packing of cement powder to be sold
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OTHER NOTES
 Though the general rule is that an illegally dismissed person is entitlted to the
following: reinstatement, separation pay if reinstatement not viable, payment of
backwages in full
o Court did not award separation pay on the bare allegation that there were
strained relations – no proof was given
o Court also did not require the payment of backawges in full because
Holcim was in good faith when it dismissed Obra for misconduct.
 Cases cited by the Court which show that infractions committed by an employee
should only merit the corresponding penalty demanded by the circumstance:
o Sagales v. Rustan's Commercial Corporation
 Chief cook tried to take home a pack of squid heads which were
considered scrap goods
 was not dismissed. Served for 31 years already and the
incident was his first offense
o Farrol v. CA
 District manager of a bank incurred a shortage of PHP 50,985,
but was able to return the majority leaving a PHP 6995.37
balance.
 Was not dismissed as it was held to be "unduly harsh and
grossly disproportionate to infraction.
o Associated Labor Unions-TUCP v. NLRC
 Employee cought trying to take a pair of boots, empty
aluminium container, 15 hamburger patties
 Despite that, Court held that dismissal was too excessive.
 Worked for 2 years already and had no previous derogatory
record.

DIGESTER: Kim