PETITIONER Lucita S. Pardillo was hired as midwife of respondent E&R Hospital. She was transferred as a billing clerk/cashier and later promoted as business office manager.
In a Notice to Explain (NTE) dated Nov. 5, 2010 issued by Dr. Evelyn D. Bandojo, Pardillo was made to explain her alleged tardiness committed on Nov. 4 and 5, 2010. Pardillo replied in a letter dated Nov. 6, 2010 apologizing for her tardiness. The notice of termination charged her with additional and more serious grounds of loss of trust and confidence, habitual tardiness, texting insulting words and uttering offensive words to Dr. Bandojo and threatening to kill her and her family.
In a case for illegal dismissal, Pardillo claimed that respondent failed to comply with the procedural due process requirement.
Does this claim find merit?
The additional grounds cited in the notice of termination which were not mentioned in the NTE violated Pardillo’s right to be informed of the administrative charges against her. The NTE and the notice of termination did not state the specific acts that constituted breach of company policies resulting in loss of trust and confidence and the specific company policies that were violated.
The Court notes that there was an earlier memorandum dated Sept. 27, 2010 (memorandum) addressed to Pardillo and other officers requesting them to attend a conference on Sept. 28, 2010 to explain the incident in which Pardillo’s subordinate, Mrs. Natividad Ladaban, was caught punching Pardillo’s time card in the bundy clock.
However, this cannot be considered the NTE required under the Labor Code.
The memorandum did not state the grounds for dismissal or disciplinary action, the specific acts of Pardillo constituting breach of company policy and the actual company policy violated. The memorandum did not also direct Pardillo to submit a written explanation within a reasonable period of time. In fact, the conference was scheduled on the very next day. Thus, the said memorandum was not a proper NTE.
Moreover, after the conference, Dr. Bandojo did not inform Pardillo of her findings or impose any disciplinary action against Pardillo with regard to the allegations about the time-card incident. It was only on Nov. 18, 2010 that Dr. Bandojo sent the notice of termination which included new allegations.
In fine, Dr. Bandojo failed to comply with the requirements of procedural and substantive due process in effecting the termination of Pardillo’s employment. There was no substantial evidence to prove that she committed serious breaches of company policy resulting in loss of trust and confidence.
Moreover, Pardillo was not afforded procedural due process. (Lucita S. Pardillo vs. Dr. Evelyn Ducay Bandojo, et.al., G.R. No. 224854, Mar. 27, 2019).