1. Appeal from NLRC to Court of Appeals; Who may sign pleading. The rule (Section 3, Rule 7 of the Rules of Civil Procedure) allows the pleading to be signed by either the party to the case or the counsel representing that party. A petition and motion for reconsideration (filed before the Court of Appeals) signed by the company in its own behalf, through its corporate president, who was duly authorized by the company’s Board of Directors to represent the company, cannot be considered unsigned and without legal effect. (Sameer Overseas Placement Agency, Inc. vs. Santos, et al., G.R. No. 152579, August 4, 2009.)
  2. Understating company’s financial position in order to reduce municipal license constitutes serious misconduct. The employee’s declaration that “I believe that I did something good for our office when our declaration of gross income submitted to City Hall for the renewal of our municipal license was lower than our actual gross income for which the office had paid a lower amount,” shows act of dishonesty and partakes serious misconduct. (Llamas vs. Ocean Gateway Maritime and Management Inc., G.R. No. 179293, August 14, 2009.)
  3. Transfer of employees; As management prerogative. The transfer of employees has been traditionally among the acts identified as a management prerogative subject only to limitations found in law, collective bargaining agreement, and general principles of fair play and justice. Even as the law is solicitous of the welfare of employees, it must also protect the right of an employer to exercise what are clearly management prerogatives. The free will of management to conduct its own business affairs to achieve its purpose cannot be denied.

    Rule against diminution of pay; When basic salary not reduced. When the basic salary was not reduced, there is no violation of the rule against diminution of pay. (Aguanza vs. Asian Terminal Inc., et al., G.R. No. 163505, August 14, 2009.)

  4. Bargaining unit; Concept. The concepts of a union and of a legitimate labor organization are different from, but related to, the concept of a bargaining unit. A bargaining unit is a “group of employees of a given employer, comprised of all or less than all of the entire body of employees, consistent with equity to the employer, indicated to be the best suited to serve the reciprocal rights and duties of the parties under the collective bargaining provisions of the law.”

    Representation of inappropriate bargaining unit not a ground for cancellation of registration as LLO. The inclusion in the union of disqualified employees is not among the grounds for cancellation of registration, unless such inclusion is due to misrepresentation, false statement or fraud under the circumstances enumerated in Sections (a) to (c) of Article 239 of the Labor Code.

    The employer is a mere bystander in petitions for certification election. In petitions for certification election, the employer is a mere bystander and cannot oppose the petition or appeal the Med-Arbiter’s decision. The exception to this rule, which happens when the employer is requested to bargain collectively. (Sta. Lucia East Commercial Corporation, vs. Hon. Secretary of Labor and Employment, G.R. No. 162355, August 14, 2009.)

  5. Grounds for termination of employment; Redundancy. Redundancy exists when the service of an employee is in excess of what is reasonably demanded by the actual requirements of the business. A redundant position is one rendered superfluous by any number of factors, such as overhiring of workers, decreased volume of business, dropping of a particular product line previously manufactured by the company or phasing out of a service activity formerly undertaken by the enterprise.

    Ibid.; Ibid.; Requisites for valid implementation of redundancy programs. For a valid implementation of a redundancy program, the employer must comply with the following requisites: (1) written notice served on both the employee and the DOLE at least one month prior to the intended date of termination; (2) payment of separation pay equivalent to at least one month pay or at least one month pay for every year of service, whichever is higher; (3) good faith in abolishing the redundant position; and (4) fair and reasonable criteria in ascertaining what positions are to be declared redundant.

    Ibid.; Ibid.; Management prerogative to determine continuing necessity of position and qualification and fitness of employee. The determination of the continuing necessity of a particular officer or position in a business corporation is a management prerogative, and the courts will not interfere unless arbitrary or malicious action on the part of management is shown. It is also within the exclusive prerogative of management to determine the qualification and fitness of an employee for hiring and firing, promotion or reassignment. Indeed, an employer has no legal obligation to keep more employees than are necessary for the operation of its business.

    Termination of employment; Wider discretion in terminating managerial employees. An employer has a much wider discretion in terminating the employment of managerial personnel as compared to rank and file employees. The reason is that officers in such key positions perform not only functions which by nature require the employer’s full trust and confidence but also functions that spell the success or failure of a business.

    Corporate officers not personally liable for corporate liabilities. In the absence of malice, bad faith, or specific provision of law, a director or an officer of a corporation cannot be made personally liable for corporate liabilities. (Lowe, Inc., et al., vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. Nos. 164813 and 174590, August 14, 2009.)

  6. When valid strike may subsequently be held illegal. Even if the purpose of a strike is valid, the strike may still be held illegal where the means employed are illegal. Thus, the employment of violence, intimidation, restraint or coercion in carrying out concerted activities which are injurious to the right to property renders a strike illegal. And so is picketing or the obstruction to the free use of property or the comfortable enjoyment of life or property, when accompanied by intimidation, threats, violence, and coercion as to constitute nuisance.
    The Union members’ repeated name-calling, harassment and threats of bodily harm directed against company officers and non-striking employees and, more significantly, the putting up of placards, banners and streamers with vulgar statements imputing criminal negligence to the company, which put to doubt reliability of its operations, come within the purview of illegal acts under Art. 264 and jurisprudence.

    Ibid.; Violence need not be continuous or for the entire duration of the strike. That the alleged acts of violence were committed in nine non-consecutive days during the almost eight months that the strike was on-going does not render the violence less pervasive or widespread to be excusable. Nowhere in Art. 264 does it require that violence must be continuous or that it should be for the entire duration of the strike. (A. Soriano Aviation vs. Employees Association of A. Soriano Aviation, et al., G.R. No. 166879, August 14, 2009.)

  7. Termination of employment; Burden to prove fact of resignation. In termination cases, it is incumbent upon the employer to prove either the non-existence or the validity of dismissal. Inasmuch as the employer alleged the employee’s resignation as the cause of his separation from work, the employer had the burden to prove the same. The case of the employer must stand or fall on its own merits and not on the weakness of the employee’s defense.

    Resignation; Intent to relinquish must concur with overt act of relinquishment. Resignation is the voluntary act of an employee who is in a situation where one believes that personal reasons cannot be sacrificed in favor of the exigency of the service, and one who has no other choice but to dissociate oneself from employment. It is a formal pronouncement or relinquishment of an office, with the intention of relinquishing the office accompanied by the act of relinquishment. As the intent to relinquish must concur with the overt act of relinquishment, the acts of the employee before and after the alleged resignation must be considered in determining whether, in fact, he intended to sever his employment.
    Ibid.; Inconsistent with filing of complaint for illegal dismissal. Resignation is inconsistent with the filing of the complaint for illegal dismissal. It would be illogical for an employee to resign and then file a complaint for illegal dismissal later on. (Payno vs. Orizon Trading Corp., et al., G.R. No. 175345, August 19, 2009.)

  8. Ground for termination of employment; Gross negligence. Gross negligence connotes want or absence of or failure to exercise even slight care or diligence, or the total absence of care. It evinces a thoughtless disregard of consequences without exerting any effort to avoid them. To warrant removal from service, the negligence should not merely be gross, but also habitual. A single or isolated act of negligence does not constitute a just cause for the dismissal of the employee.

    Ibid. Gross negligence connotes want of care in the performance of one’s duties. Habitual neglect implies repeated failure to perform one’s duties for a period of time, depending upon the circumstances. Fraud and willful neglect of duties imply bad faith of the employee in failing to perform his job, to the detriment of the employer and the latter’s business.

    Ibid; Breach of Trust; Misappropriation; Amount irrelevant. In misappropriation of company funds against employee, the amount misappropriated is irrelevant. More than the resulting material damage or prejudice, it is the very act of misappropriation that is offensive to the company. (Estacio and Manliclic vs. Pampanga I Electric Cooperative Inc., et al., G.R. No. 183196, August 19, 2009.)

  9. Grave abuse of discretion by labor officials. Grave abuse of discretion arises when a court or tribunal exercises powers granted by law capriciously, whimsically, or arbitrarily. Indeed, the law grants the NLRC the power to review decisions of labor arbiters. However, the fact that the law grants the NLRC the power to review decisions of labor arbiters does not automatically rule out the possibility of grave abuse of discretion. Grave abuse of discretion may arise if the NLRC exercises such power in a capricious, whimsical, arbitrary, or despotic manner. Labor officials commit grave abuse of discretion when their factual findings are arrived at arbitrarily or in disregard of the evidence.

    Special civil actions for certiorari; Authority of the Court of Appeals to receive new evidence. In a special civil action for certiorari, the Court of Appeals has ample authority to receive new evidence and perform any act necessary to resolve factual issues. The Court of Appeals can grant a petition for certiorari when it finds that the NLRC committed grave abuse of discretion by disregarding evidence material to the controversy. To make this finding, the Court of Appeals necessarily has to look at the evidence and make its own factual determination.

    Rules of procedure; Relaxation of the rules in the interest of substantial justice. Strict rules of procedure may be set aside to serve the demands of substantial justice. Labor cases must be decided according to justice, equity, and the substantial merits of the controversy. (In this case, the appeal from the decision of the Labor Arbiter was filed 12 days from receipt of the decision, or two days late.) (Maralit vs. Philippine National Bank, G.R. No. 163788, August 24, 2009.)

  10. Perfection of Appeal; Compliance with procedure – Mandatory and jurisdictional. Appeal is not a constitutional right, but a mere statutory privilege. Thus, parties who seek to avail themselves of it must comply with the statutes or rules allowing it. Perfection of an appeal in the manner and within the period permitted by law is mandatory and jurisdictional. The requirements for perfecting an appeal must, as a rule, be strictly followed.

    Ibid.; Effect of failure to attach Certificate of Non-forum Shopping. The perfection of an appeal necessarily includes the filing of a complete (not a defective) memorandum of appeal within the ten (10) day reglementary period. The filing of a memorandum of appeal without the requisite certificate does not stop the running of the period to perfect an appeal. In short, the order assailed in the defective memorandum of appeal becomes final and executory. (Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company vs. Raut, et al., G.R. No. 174209, August 25, 2009.)

  11. Occupational diseases; Pulmonary tuberculosis. While pulmonary tuberculosis appears in the list of occupational diseases in the contract of employment, the inclusion is conditional; a claimant has to show actual work-relatedness if the condition does not apply. (Montoya vs. Transmed Manila Corporation, et al., G.R. No. 183329, August 27, 2009.)
  12. Rules of procedure; One day delay in filing of appeal. One day delay in the filing of the appeal does not justify the appeal’s denial. More importantly that the appeal, on its face, appears to be impressed with merit. (Republic Cement Corp., vs. Guinmapang, G.R. No. 168910, August 24, 2009.)

Last Edited: Friday, August 19, 2011

Caveat: Subsequent court and administrative rulings, or changes to, or repeal of, laws, rules and regulations may have rendered the whole or part of this article inaccurate or obsolete.
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