“To constitute a just cause for the employee’s dismissal, the neglect of duties must not only be gross but also habitual. Thus, the single or isolated acts of negligence do not constitute a just cause for the dismissal of the employee.
Gross negligence means an absence of that diligence that an ordinarily prudent man would use in his own affairs.
To justify the dismissal of an employee for neglect of duties, however, it does not seem necessary that the employer show that he has incurred actual loss, damage, or prejudice by reason of the employee’s conduct. It is sufficient that the gross and habitual neglect by the employee of his duties tends to prejudice the employer’s interest since it would be unreasonable to require the employer to wait until he is materially injured before removing the cause of the impending evil.”
—Department of Labor Manual, Sec. 4343.01(2)
Gross negligence vs. ‘error in judgment’?
“Private respondent’s act is similarly mitigated by the fact that there was no material prejudice shown as a result of the act of designating “F/B Liza V” to an unlicensed individual. While we are not unmindful that no material injury need be shown to sustain a finding of gross negligence, private respondent was without bad faith and had reasonable basis for designating the fishing boat to Francisco Dorens. Private respondent had believed the latter to be the responsible substitute in cases of emergency due to the unavailability of the captain. Harboring from an intense physical condition that demanded medical attention, it can be said that on 11 June 1998, private respondent merely committed an error in judgment, but not an act so gross as to constitute just cause for his separation. Evidence is wanting as to prove depravity of the act.”
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