IMASEN PHILIPPINE MANUFACTURING CORPORATION, Petitioner,
RAMONCHITO T. ALCON and JOANN S. PAPA, Respondents.
G.R. No. 194884 October 22, 2014
TOPIC: Sexual intercourse in workplace during work hours as serious misconduct
Petitioner Imasen Philippine Manufacturing Corporation is a domestic corporation engaged in the manufacture of auto seat-recliners and slide-adjusters. It hired the respondents as manual welders in 2001.
On October 5, 2002, the respondents reported for work on the second shift – from 8:00 pm to 5:00 am of the following day. At around 12:40 am, Cyrus A. Altiche, Imasen’s security guard on duty, went to patrol and inspect the production plant’s premises. When Altiche reached Imasen’s Press Area, he heard the sound of a running industrial fan. Intending to turn the fan off, he followed the sound that led him to the plant’s “Tool and Die” section.
At the “Tool and Die” section, Altiche saw the respondents having sexual intercourse on the floor, using a piece of carton as mattress. Altiche immediately went back to the guard house and relayed what he saw to Danilo S. Ogana, another security guard on duty.
Respondent’s defense: they claimed that they were merely sleeping in the “Tool and Die” section at the time of the incident. They also claimed that other employees were near the area, making the commission of the act charged impossible.
Both LA and NLRC held that the dismissal was valid. CA however nullified NLRC’s decision and held that sexual intercourse inside company premises is not serious misconduct.
Whether the respondents’ infraction – engaging in sexual intercourse inside company premises during work hours – amounts to serious misconduct justifying their dismissal.
YES. Sexual acts and intimacies between two consenting adults belong, as a principled ideal, to the realm of purely private relations. Whether aroused by lust or inflamed by sincere affection, sexual acts should be carried out at such place, time and circumstance that, by the generally accepted norms of conduct, will not offend public decency nor disturb the generally held or accepted social morals. Under these parameters, sexual acts between two consenting adults do not have a place in the work environment.
Indisputably, the respondents engaged in sexual intercourse inside company premises and during work hours. These circumstances, by themselves, are already punishable misconduct. Added to these considerations, however, is the implication that the respondents did not only disregard company rules but flaunted their disregard in a manner that could reflect adversely on the status of ethics and morality in the company.
Additionally, the respondents engaged in sexual intercourse in an area where co-employees or other company personnel have ready and available access. The respondents likewise committed their act at a time when the employees were expected to be and had, in fact, been at their respective posts, and when they themselves were supposed to be, as all other employees had in fact been, working.
The Court also considered the respondents’ misconduct to be of grave and aggravated character so that the company was justified in imposing the highest penalty available ― dismissal.
Their infraction transgressed the bounds of socially and morally accepted human public behavior, and at the same time showed brazen disregard for the respect that their employer expected of them as employees. By their misconduct, the respondents, in effect, issued an open invitation for others to commit the same infraction, with like disregard for their employer’s rules, for the respect owed to their employer, and for their co-employees’ sensitivities.