Almirante: Loss of trust and confidence

Labor Case Digest

PETITIONER Minda Cadavas was hired as a staff nurse by respondent Davao Doctors Hospital (DDH). She was later promoted to nurse supervisor.

Sometime in February 2012, Cadavas’ aunt, Shirley Aninion, was confined at DDH for stage four breast cancer. Cadavas, with the help of some hospital staff, was able to obtain supplies and medicines used in her aunt’s operation from the Emergency Department and Operating Room Central Supply Service without being entered in the records so that said supplies and medicines would not be charged to her aunt’s bill, but Cadavas would replace and eventually replaced them.

During the administrative hearing, Cadavas admitted that she was aware of the hospital policy prohibiting what she did, but alleged it has been a long practice among employees.

Subsequently, Cadavas was dismissed from the service for dishonesty and loss of trust and confidence.

Is the dismissal justified?

Ruling: Yes.

In the minutes of the administrative hearing conducted by respondent DDH, petitioner admitted that there is no policy that employees can borrow supplies for personal use. She also admitted that she was aware of the hospital’s policy against the purchase of medicines outside the hospital. She apologized for buying medicines and supplies outside the hospital (to replace the ones used by her aunt).

Thus, it is clear that despite knowing that there is a policy against the purchase of supplies and medicines outside the hospital, petitioner chose to violate the policy by asking a nursing aide if she could replace the supplies and medicines used by her aunt. As the nursing aide acceded to petitioner’s request, the medicines and supplies used by petitioner’s aunt were not recorded and charged to her per the agreement that petitioner would replace the said medicines and supplies.

In effect, petitioner caused the transaction not to be recorded. Although petitioner was not then performing her duties and functions as nurse supervisor in her departments, nevertheless, as an employee and nurse supervisor of respondent DDH, she was covered by the policy against the use of hospital medicines and supplies without recording such use, and purchasing medicines and supplies outside of respondent hospital to replace hospital medicines and supplies already used.

Notably, petitioner was aware of such hospital policy, but she still violated it. As a nurse supervisor holding a position of trust, petitioner was expected to enforce and observe hospital policies. Clearly, petitioner breached the trust and confidence reposed in her by respondent DDH by her willful violation of the said hospital policy, causing loss of income to respondent DDH.

As a general rule, employers are allowed a wider latitude of discretion in terminating the services of employees who perform functions by which their nature requires the employer’s full trust and confidence. Mere existence of basis for believing that the employee has breached the trust and confidence of the employer is sufficient and does not require proof beyond reasonable doubt. (Minda Topinio Cadavas vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 228765, March 20, 2019).


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