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Integrated Microelectronics Inc employed Adonis Pionilla as one of its production workers. Pionilla was later on dismissed in violation of the company rules and regulations which prohibits lending one's ID since the same is considered a breach of its security rules. It was reported that Pionilla was seen escorting a lady to board the company shuttle bus at a terminal, and that the lady was wearing a company ID – which serves as a free pass for shuttle bus passengers – even if she was just a job applicant at Integrated Microelectronics, Inc.
Pionilla admitted that he lent his ID to the lady who turned out to be his relative and at the time of the incident, he had two IDs in his name as he lost his original ID but was later on able to secure a temporary ID. As Pionilla and his relative were about to board the shuttle bus, they were both holding separate Ids, both in his name. The day after the incident, Pionilla received a notice requiring him to explain the incident and a committee was subsequently formed to investigate the matter. Thereafter, Pionilla was found guilty and was dismissed from service.
Whether or not Pionilla was illegally dismissed and hence entitled to reinstatement and full back wages.
An illegally dismissed employee is entitled to either reinstatement, if viable or separation pay if reinstatement is no longer viable and backwages. In certain cases, however, the Court has ordered reinstatement of the employee without backwages considering the fact that (1) the dismissal of the employee would be too harsh a penalty and, (2) the employer was in good faith in terminating the employee.
The Court observed that: (a) the penalty of dismissal was too harsh of a penalty to be imposed against Pionilla for his infractions; and (b) IMI was in good faith when it dismissed Pionilla as his dereliction of its policy on ID usage was honestly perceived to be a threat to the company's security. In this respect, since these circumstances trigger the application of the exception to the rule on backwages, the Court finds it proper to accord the same disposition and consequently directs the deletion of the award of back wages in favor of Pionilla, notwithstanding the illegality of the dismissal.