Effect of Long Employment Tenure Against the Charge of Loss of Trust and ConfidenceAtty Elvin
There is a thought that an employee who has rendered several years of service is accorded leniency in disciplinary situations. However, this is not always the case since under certain circumstances, long years of service may aggravate the offense involving loss of trust.
In a case where the two employees had spent twenty-two (22) and nineteen (19) years of service with the company respectively and although they committed their only first offense, the Supreme Court upheld their dismissal nonetheless. The Court stated that the longer an employee stays in the service of the company, the greater is his responsibility for knowledge and compliance with the norms of conduct and the code of discipline in the company. (Central Pangasinan Electric Cooperative, Inc. vs. Macaraeg, G.R. No. 145800, January 22, 2003.)
The fact that an employee served the company for more than twenty (20) years with no negative record prior to his dismissal, does not call for such award of benefits since his violation reflects a regrettable
lack of loyalty and worse, betrayal of the company.
Long years of service may even militate against the claim of the employee of good faith in the commission of an unlawful act like the spiriting out of thirty (30) cases of canned soft drinks without the required documentation. (See Cruz vs. Coca-Cola Bottlers Phils., Inc., G.R. No. 165586, June 15, 2005.)
A PLDT employee who was positively identified as the installer of the illegal extension line for which he
was paid P2,500 was validly dismissed despite his 15 years of service with the company. An employee’s length of service with the company even aggravates his offense. He should have been more loyal to PLDT from which he derived his income for 15 years. (PLDT vs. Bolso, G.R. No. 159701, August 17, 2007.)
In a 2013 case, the Court ruled that length of service (11 years) can even be taken against a supervisory employee who committed willful breach of trust reposed in him by his employer for concealing the truth from the company which is clear disloyalty. (Moya vs. First Solid Rubber Industries, Inc., G.R. No. 184011, September 18, 2013.)
Indeed, length of service and a previously clean employment record cannot simply erase the gravity of the betrayal exhibited by a malfeasant employee. Length of service is not a bargaining chip that can simply be stacked against the employer. After all, an employer-employee relationship is symbiotic where both parties benefit from mutual loyalty and dedicated service.
If an employer had treated his employee well, has accorded him fairness and adequate compensation as determined by law, it is only fair to expect a long-time employee to return such fairness with at least some respect and honesty. Thus, it may be said that betrayal by a long-time employee is more insulting and odious for a fair employer. (Reno Foods, Inc. vs. (NLM) – KATIPUNAN, G.R. No. 164016, March 15, 2010.)
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