Reasonable Order: Meaning of Reasonable in Reasonable OrderAtty Elvin
Reasonable order is required for an employee’s refusal to follow the directive to constitute willful disobedience.
The post below is based on the book Guide to Valid Dismissal of Employees Second Edition.
The reasonableness and lawfulness of a rule, order or instruction depend on the circumstances availing in each case. Reasonableness pertains to the kind or character of directives and commands and to the manner in which they are made.
However, when the law requires that the order must be lawful and reasonable, it does not end there. The act of the employee disregarding such order must also be intentional.
Requisites of willful disobedience
Thus, in order for the ground of “willful disobedience” to be considered a just cause to terminate employment, the following requisites must concur:
(1) The employee’s assailed conduct must have been willful, that is, characterized by a wrongful and perverse attitude; and
(2) 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 Lakpue Drug Inc. vs. Belga, willfulness was described as one that is “characterized by a wrongful and perverse mental attitude rendering the employee’s act inconsistent with proper subordination.
While it is true that the employer may promulgate rules and regulations and enforce the same to the point of dismissal of violators, such prerogative is limited by the standards of good faith and consideration of the plight of worker and circumstances.
As held by the Court, it is true that an employer is given wide latitude of discretion in managing its own affairs. The broad discretion includes the implementation of company rules and regulations and the imposition of disciplinary measures on its employees.
But the exercise of a management prerogative like this is not limitless, but hemmed in by good faith and a due consideration of the rights of the worker. In this light, the management prerogative will be upheld for as long as it is not wielded as an implement to circumvent the laws and oppress labor.