Jose S. Santos v. NLRC et al. case brief summary
G.R. No. 115795, March 6, 1998
FACTS: Petitioner is a married man and is employed as a teacher by private respondent Hagonoy Institute Inc. from June 1980 until his dismissal on June 1, 1991. Petitioner and Mrs. Arlene T. Martin, also a teacher employed at Hagonoy Institute, fell in love and had an affair. Private respondent, upon hearing of circulating rumors among faculty and school officials, of the illicit relationship of petitioner and Mrs. Martin, advised the latter to take a leave of absence, Mrs. Martin ignored such notice and was henceforth prevented from entering the campus of private respondent, effectively dismissing her from work. Private respondent set-up a committee to investigate the veracity of the rumors, after two weeks of investigation, the illicit relationship of petitioner and Mrs. Martin was confirmed. Petitioner was charged administratively for immorality and asked to present his side, on May 1991, petitioner was dismissed effective June 1, 1991. Petitioner filed a complaint for illegal dismissal with the NLRC Regional Arbitration Branch No. III, San Fernando, Pampanga and petitioner’s complaint was dismissed but awarded financial assistance of PHP 13,750. On appeal, the NLRC affirmed the decision of the labor arbiter.
ISSUE: Can the illicit relationship between the petitioner and Mrs. Martin be considered immoral as to constitute a cause for termination under Art. 282 of the Labor Code?
RULING: Court reiterates that to constitute a valid dismissal, two requisites must concur: (a) it must be for any offense expressed in Art. 282 of the Labor Code, (b) employee must be accorded due process, that is, the opportunity to be heard and to defend oneself. Art. 282 of the Labor Code lists the following just causes to terminate an employee: (1) serious misconduct or willful disobedience by employee of lawful orders of the employer or his representative in connection with his work, (2) gross and habitual neglect by employee of his duties; (3) fraud or willful breach, (4) commission of crime or offense of the person of his employer or his family or his authorized representative, (5) other courses analogous to the foregoing.
In addition, Section 94, Manual of Regulations for Private Schools, paragraph E, lists “disgraceful or immoral conduct” as ground for termination. Furthermore, the Court ruled that Art. 68 of the Family Code enjoins the husband and wife to live together, observe mutual love, respect and fidelity, and render mutual help and support.” As a teacher, one stands in loco parentis to his students and must therefore act with a high standard of integrity and honesty. It is settled therefore that a teacher who engages in extra marital affairs, when both are married, amounts to gross immorality justifying termination from employment.
Petition is dismissed, NLRC decision is affirmed with modification, deleting financial assistance.