Violations of company policies and regulations as grounds for dismissal

4:01 am Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Atty. Dennis R. Gorecho

Violations of   company policies and regulations are considered valid grounds for dismissal under the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration- Standard Employment Contract (POEA-SEC), which cover any of the following acts:

  1. pilferage or theft of ship’s store or cargo;
  2. pilferage or theft of ships property of crews or passengers or other persons with business at the ship;
  3. embezzlement of company funds;
  4. unauthorized disposal of   company ship’s properties for personal gain;
  5. any act of dishonesty with intention to defraud the company;
  6. gross negligence and failure to observe proper storage and  cargo handling procedures resulting in delay of ships and/or damage to cargoes;
  7. failure to observe and comply with regulation and non- baggage shipment and acceptance of parcels on board;
  8. failure to observe regulations on expiration of shore liberty;
  9. being left behind by ship in foreign port without justifiable reason;
  10. disorderly conduct and/or disrespect towards passengers or other persons;
  11. for immorality so as to cast aspersion on the good name of        the ship and company; and
  12. inflicting harm or injury to others

Even when an employee is found to have transgressed the employer’s rules, in the actual imposition of penalties upon the erring employee, due consideration must still be given to his length of service and the number of violations committed during his employ. Where a penalty less punitive would suffice, whatever missteps may have been committed by the worker ought not to be visited with a consequence so severe such as dismissal from employment (PLDT vs. NLRC, 303 SCRA 9).

When a seafarer commits such violations, he may be penalized by the master of the vessel with dismissal and be made to pay the cost of repatriation and his replacement. Additionally, an administrative complaint or disciplinary action against the seafarer may be filed before the POEA, who, after due investigation, may impose penalties ranging from suspension to delisting, depending on the frequency of the violation(s).

Under the “two-notice rule”, an erring seafarer is given a written notice of the charge against him and is afforded an opportunity to explain or defend himself. Should sanctions be imposed, then a written notice of penalty and the reasons for it shall be furnished the erring seafarer. It is only in the exceptional case of clear and existing danger to the safety of the crew or vessel that the required notices are dispensed with; but just the same, a complete report should be sent to the manning agency, supported by substantial evidence of the findings (Skippers Pacific, Inc. v. Mira 440 Phil. 906 (2002)
In case of an illegal dismissal, a seafarer is entitled to receive from his employers His salaries for the unexpired portion of his employment contract not merely his salaries for three (3) months for every year of the unexpired term.
It is well-settled that the burden of proving that the termination of an employee was for a just or authorized cause lies with the employer. If the employer fails to meet this burden, the conclusion would be that the dismissal was unjustified and, therefore, illegal. In order to discharge this burden, the employer must present substantial evidence, which is defined as that amount of relevant evidence which a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to justify a conclusion, and not based on mere surmises or conjectures (MAERSK-FILIPINAS CREWING, INC., vs. TORIBIO C. A VESTRUZ, G.R. No. 207010   February 18, 2015)

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