Willful disobedience

1. Concept

Willful disobedience refers to insubordination.

Insubordination refers to “the refusal to obey some order, which a superior is entitled to give and have obeyed. It is a willful or intentional disregard of the lawful and reasonable instructions of the employer.” (Section 4 [l], Rule I-A, DOLE D.O. No. 2015-147)

If an employee disobeys a company policy or directive without knowing about it, then it is not willful in character. It is thus on the responsibility of the employer to make known to the employees the rules and regulations of the workplace.

“While the law imposes many obligations upon the employer, nonetheless, it also protects the employers right to expect from its employees not only good performance, adequate work, and diligence, but also good conduct and loyalty. In fact, the Labor Code does not excuse employees from complying with valid company policies and reasonable regulations for their governance and guidance.” (Rural Bank of Cantilan, Inc. v. Julve, G.R. No. 169750, 27 February 2007)

Should an employee challenge his/her dismissal due to willful disobedience, it is the responsibility of the employer to establish the existence of such lawful order. Accordingly, documentation is crucial for the proper use and application of willful disobedience.

As early at this point, it should be emphasized that company policies are generally valid. The employees cannot simply declare that workplace rules and regulations are invalid if they do not a...


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