Acesite Corporation vs. NLRC Facts: * Leo A. Gonzales (Gonzales) was a Chief of Security of Acesite Corporation. * Gonzales took several leaves (sick leave, emergency leave, and vacation leave), thereby using up all leaves that he was entitled for the year. * Before the expiration of his 12-day vacation leave, Gonzales filed an application for emergency leave for 10 days commencing on April 30 up to May 13, 1998. The application was not, however, approved. * He received a telegram informing him of the disapproval and asking him to report back for work on April 30, 1998.
However Gonzales did not report for work on the said date. * On May 5, 1998, Acesite sent him a final telegram in his provincial address containing in order for Gonzales to report back to work. * Gonzales, who claims to have received the May 5, 1998 telegram only in the afternoon of May 7, 1998, immediately repaired back to Manila on May 8, 1998 only to be “humiliatingly and ignominiously barred by the guard (a subordinate of [Gonzales]) from entering the premises. * It appears that on May 7, 1998, the issued notice of termination was thru an inter-office memo. * Gonzales thus filed on May 27, 1998 a complaint against Acesite for illegal dismissal with prayer for reinstatement and payment of full backwages, etc. * Acesite claims, Gonzales “showed no respect for the lawful orders for him to report back to work and repeatedly ignored all telegrams sent to him,” and it merely exercised its legal right to dismiss him under the House Code of Discipline. LA – the complaint for lack of merit, its holding that Gonzales was dismissed for just cause and was not denied of due process. * NLRC – reversed that of the Labor Arbiter. * CA – finding that Gonzales was illegally dismissed, affirmed with modification the NLRC decision. Issue: * WON Gonzales was legally dismissed for just cause. Held: * No. there appears to have been no just cause to dismiss Gonzales from employment.
As correctly ruled by the Court of Appeals, Gonzales cannot be considered to have willfully disobeyed his employer. Willful disobedience entails the concurrence of at least two (2) requisites: the employee’s assailed conduct has been willful or intentional, the willfulness being characterized by a “wrongful and perverse attitude;” and 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. In Gonzales’ case, his assailed conduct has not been shown to have been characterized by a perverse attitude, hence, the first requisite is wanting. His receipt of the telegram disapproving his application for emergency leave starting April 30, 1998 has not been shown. And it cannot be said that he disobeyed the May 5, 1998 telegram since he received it only on May 7, 1998. On the contrary, that he immediately hied back to Manila upon receipt thereof negates a perverse attitude.