Question:

FACTS: In the illegal dismissal case filed by Sharon Cometa against Up & Down Company, the labor Arbiter rendered a decision directing her immediate reinstatement and payment of full backwages. The Company appealed to the NLRC. Following her lawyer’s advise that the reinstatement aspect of the decision is immediately executory, Sharon went to the HRD Office of the Company and demanded immediate reinstatement. When the Company refused, her lawyer, Atty. Maximiano Anunciacion, filed a motion to cite the employer in contempt. Acting on the motion, the NLRC ordered the payroll reinstatement of Sharon Cometa.

  1. Can the company or any of its officials be cited for contempt for refusing to reinstate Sharon Cometa? Why? (3%)
  2. May the NLRC order the payroll reinstatement of Sharon Cometa? Why?

(Bar Examination in Labor Law, 1999)

Suggested Answer:

  1. Yes, the company can be cited for contempt. The order of the Labor Arbiter directing Sharon’s immediate reinstatement is in accordance with Article 223 of the Labor Code which states viz: “the decision of the Labor Arbiter reinstating a dismissed or separated employee, insofar as the reinstatement aspect is concerned, shall immediately be executory, even pending appeal.”
  2. No. The option whether or not to physically reinstate the employee or reinstate him only in the payroll is at the sole option of the employer. The basis for this is found under the same article cited above, viz: “The employee shall either be admitted back to work under the same terms and conditions prevailing prior to his dismissal or separation or, at the option of the employer, merely reinstated in the payroll.”
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