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July 24, 2012

My 5th Admin Hearing: Abandonment of Work

I recently attended my 5th administrative (admin) hearing in my current call center. I’ll be celebrating my 3rd year in this company on October 2012 and so far, I have incurred 5 admin hearings to date. This time, I was charged with abandonment of work.

Gavel on termination of employment document

A few weeks ago, I attended a once-a-year photo contest in Laguna. It was on a Saturday and the week before that, I was on leave for 3 days (Tuesday-Thursday). So Friday is between two non-working days, a leave and a rest day. So I’m feeling a little “tamad” (lazy) to go to work. Unfortunately, I have to be in the office on Friday to hand-over my contribution to my boss (team leader). So as much as I wanted to send her a text message saying “tinatamad akong mag-work” (I feel lazy to go to work), I decided to go to work.

My shift was between 10PM (Friday night) to 6AM (Saturday morning) but I am required to be in Laguna by 6:30AM and I don’t know how long it would take me to travel from Taguig to Laguna. So I decided to go on a half-day. I’ll take calls from 10PM-3AM. My boss was absent at that time and only our Subject Matter Expert (SME) is around. Unfortunately, by the time I was looking for him to advise him that I’ll be on half-day, he took his lunch. So I just left a message to my team mate to inform our SME that I’m on half-day and I left my contact number. I was already on my way to Laguna when my SME called me and asked why I left early. So I told him the reason and I thought everything’s okay.

When I went to work the next week (Monday), I received an Incident Report (IR) and a Notice To Explain (NTE) about my half-day and I was surprised that they labeled it as Abandonment of Work. I was very surprised that they see it as Abandonment of Work when it could only mean simple absent. The letter informed me that it was queuing that day and that my under-time somehow affected the Service Level (SL). I was like “WTF!”. Aren’t these guys reading The Labor Code? Are they not aware what Abandonment of Work is?

So I attended the admin hearing. My SME was there together with my TL and the HR representative and they are all pointing out that I didn’t inform an authorized person (like another TL, another SME or the manager) of my half-day. I informed them that I got excited by the event (it’s my first time to attend such huge photography contest) that it didn’t occur to me to tell the other “authorized person”.

I’m still waiting for the Notice of Decision (NOD) about this 5th admin hearing of mine but I already decided that I will file illegal dismissal before the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) if in case they’ll terminate me for this. I just feel so bad that even though I’m a regular employee, I don’t feel any job security in the call center industry. It’s like there is a mentality among management that they could easily terminate an agent because of a simple absent. I feel that they are not reading The Labor Code of the Philippines. They don’t even know what Abandonment of Work is.

“Abandonment of job is a form of neglect of duty. There is abandonment when the employee leaves his job or position with a clear and deliberate intent to discontinue his employment without any intention of returning back.” (Philippine Labor Laws Website)

In my case, I don’t have a clear and deliberate intent to discontinue my employment. In fact, I was only absent for half-day and I returned to work the next working day.

What do you think guys? Do you have a similar admin hearing case?

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