The Labor Code allows an employer to terminate an employee for gross and habitual neglect of duties. But for neglect of duty to be a valid ground for dismissal, the act complained of must be both GROSS and HABITUAL.
‘Gross negligence’ refers to the lack of care in the performance of an employee’s duties while ‘habitual neglect’ implies a repeated failure to perform one’s duties for a period of time, depending on the circumstances.
A single or isolated act of negligence does not constitute a just cause for the dismissal of the employee.
The Supreme Court maintained this view in a case where the security personnel of a hospital failed to rotate the security cameras at various portions of the hospital when a theft occurred. The centralized videos failed to capture any footage of the incident because of this security lapse. The employee in charge of monitoring the hospital videos was terminated but eventually ordered reinstated after filing suit against the employer. (St. Luke’s Medical Center vs. Estrelito Notario, GR No. 152166, October 20, 2010)