Negligence: When is it a Valid Ground for Employee Dismissal?Atty Elvin
No. For negligence to be a proper ground for termination, it must not only be gross but must be both “gross and habitual” in character to justify depriving an employee of his means of livelihood.
In short, not all forms of negligence should be penalized with dismissal. A single or an isolated act of negligence which is not “gross and habitual” in nature will not justify termination of services.
Further, gross negligence connotes want of care in the performance of one’s duties, while habitual neglect implies repeated failure to perform one’s duties for a period of time, depending upon the circumstances. The single or isolated act of negligence does not constitute a just cause for the dismissal of the employee.
“Gross negligence” means an absence of that diligence that an ordinarily prudent man would use in his own affairs. It evinces a thoughtless disregard of consequences without exerting any effort to avoid them. The issue of whether a party is negligent is a question of fact.
“It is negligence characterized by want of even a slight care, acting or omitting to act in a situation where there is a duty to act, not inadvertently but willfully and intentionally with a conscious indifference to consequences insofar as his duties are concerned.”
Further, for negligence to be proper ground for dismissal, it must be both gross and habitual. When an employee has no prior derogatory record with the company in his past six (6) years of service, for instance he cannot, as a rule, be dismissed on this ground due to lack of habituality. He has not violated any of the company rules and regulations.
Hence, the element of habituality is absent, rendering the dismissal of complainant illegal.