'High-strung and belligerent behaviour has no place in government service, especially when done at the workplace'
A court stenographer from the Philippines has been "perpetually disqualified" from working in the government after the Supreme Court (SC) found her guilty of misconduct and insubordination.
The case stems from several incidents that took place as early as 2014, when the stenographer displayed "discourteous, arrogant, and offensive" behaviour against the judge and colleagues in the workplace.
In one incident, the SC heard that the stenographer "angrily marched" to the office of the judge where she "spewed another round of invectives" against her. She also attempted to strike with a stapler a colleague who attempted to admonish her behaviour.
Six memoranda had been sent to the stenographer's way, all of which were not received by her, according to the SC's findings, with one of the memoranda even torn "angrily" by the stenographer while "babbling offensive and defamatory words" against the judge.
In 2017, a court judge and several other employees from Sta. Ignacia, Tarlac, filed a complaint against the court stenographer for repeated misconduct and showing disrespectful and arrogant behaviour in the workplace.
In the stenographer's defence, she said that she will "never appreciate" the judge, adding that she lost her respect for her when she "asked her to perform tasks in addition to her regular work assignments."
While admitting that she refused to hand over her stenographic notes to the officer-in-charge clerk of court, she said that accusations of her "untoward behaviour" were untrue.
On the case of the memoranda, the court stenographer defended that there were only three of them and she refused them all because they were issued "without any justifiable reason."
The High Court ruled against the court stenographer in the case, finding her guilty of violating six counts of gross misconduct and six counts of gross insubordination. In its decision, the SC said the stenographer's behaviour did not only "cause fear and anxiety" among her colleagues, but also "severe disturbance in the workplace."
"Indeed, a high-strung and belligerent behaviour has no place in the government service, especially when done at the workplace and during working hours," the SC said in its decision.
The Office of the Court Administrator originally recommended a one-year suspension without pay for the stenographer, but the SC elevated its punishment to dismissal and "perpetual disqualification" from re-employment in any government instrumentality, including government-owned and controlled corporations.
"She is immediately dismissed from the service, with forfeiture of all benefits, except her accrued leave credits, if any," the SC decision read. "Clearly, respondent's continuous employment poses grave danger to the lives and limbs of her co-workers. It cannot be denied that she is mentally and emotionally disturbed."
In addition, the court revoked her Civil Service eligibility, as well as banned her from taking any future Civil Service Examination.
The court also ordered a fine of P36,000 against the stenographer after she disobeyed the SC and refused to undergo a psychological assessment despite her prior agreement to it.