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NLRC Ruled Constructive Dismissal Against Robinsons Supermarket Corporation

The National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) ordered the Robinsons Supermarket Corporation to reinstate the respondent Cashier to her former or equivalent position without loss of seniority rights and privileges and to pay her full backwages, after she was constructively dismissed from employment.

The Supreme Court in a 2011 decision affirms the NLRC decision that respondent Cashier was denied due process by petitioner Supermarket.

Although respondent Cashier was only a probationary employee, the subsequent lapse of her probationary contract of employment did not have the effect of validly terminating her employment because constructive dismissal has already been effected when respondent Cashier send to jail for two weeks.

Respondent Cashier was a probationary employee of petitioner Supermarket for a period of five (5) months, or from October 15, 1997 until March 14, 1998. She underwent six (6) weeks of training as a cashier before she was hired as such on October 15, 1997.

            Two weeks after she was hired, or on October 30, 1997, respondent Cashier reported to her supervisor the loss of cash amounting to P20,299.00 which she had placed inside the company locker. The Operations Manager of petitioner Supermarket ordered that respondent Cashier be strip-searched by the company guards. However, the search on her and her personal belongings yielded nothing.

SC Affirms the NLRC Decision Voiding the Compromise Agreement for P150K and Reinstated the P2.5M Judgment Award

The National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) ruled that the P150,000.00 received by Mr. Gestiada, a representative employee of the complainants, did not cover the monetary claim of the 22 employees against Powertech Corporation. The Quitclaim and Release executed by Mr. Gestiada cannot be recognized as a valid and binding undertaking as the consideration of P150,000.00 as opposed to the total monetary award of P2.5 Million is clearly unconscionable and is thus void for being contrary to public policy.

            The case stems from a complaint for illegal dismissal and other monetary claims filed by the Nagkakaisang Manggagawa Ng Powertech Corporation. At the Arbitration Level of the NLRC, Labor Arbiter Dela Cruz rendered a decision declaring illegal the termination of 22 employees and granting their monetary claims in the total amount of P2.5 Million.

            During the pendency of appeal filed by Powertech Corporation, Mr. Gestiada, for himself and on behalf of other complainants, executed a Quitclaim, Release and Waiver in favor of Powertech Corporation in consideration of the amount of P150,000.00.

SC CLARIFIES NLRC'S JURISDICTION VIS-à-VIS DOLE'S VISITORIAL AND ENFORCEMENT POWER

In a 2009 decision, the Supreme Court (SC) had the occasion to rule that where the employer-employee relationship has ceased, claims for payment of monetary benefits arising out of employer-employee relationship has to be referred to the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) because it is the NLRC which has jurisdiction in view of the termination of the employer-employee relationship.

 

The SC explains that the same procedure has to be followed where no employer-employee relationship has ever existed since it is the NLRC that has jurisdiction in view of the absence of employer-employee relationship between the evidentiary parties from the start. The law accords a prerogative to the NLRC over the claim when the employer-employee relationship has terminated or such relationship has not arisen at all.   

 

Verily, in case no employer-employee relationship has ever existed, its existence is a matter which is not easily determinable from an ordinary inspection, necessarily so, because the elements of such a relationship are not verifiable from a mere ocular inspection. The intricacies and implications of an employer-employee relationship demand that the level of scrutiny should be far above the cursory and the mechanical. While documents, particularly documents found in the employers office are the primary source materials, what may prove decisive are factors related to the history of the employers business operations, its current state as well as accepted contemporary practices in the industry. More often than not, the question of employer-employee relationship becomes a battle of evidence, the determination of which should be comprehensive and intensive and therefore best left to the specialized quasi-judicial body that is the NLRC.

 

NLRC TARGETS ZERO BACKLOG FOR 2011

QUEZON CITY, February 18 – Beginning January of 2011, year-end reports indicate that the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) was able to reduce pending cases both at the Commission Proper and in the Regional Arbitration Branches (RABs). This was the initial outcome of extensive campaigns and reforms instituted in the past years under its Chairman, Gerardo C. Nograles, that include a much strengthened adjudication system, streamlined procedures, removal of red tape, and the restoration of integrity and fairness in the NLRC.

The NLRC, a quasi-judicial agency under the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), is mandated to resolve labor and management disputes based on social justice in the fairest, quickest, least expensive and most effective way possible. 

Based on the 2010 Year End Performance Assessment (YEPA) of the NLRC, the total number/percentage of labor cases disposed of in the Commission Proper is approximately 12,546 or 109% out of 11,543 cases received in 2010, 9% of which are percentage shares from pending cases in 2009. In the RABs, 33,416 or 102% were disposed out of 32,958 cases received in 2010, 2% of which are percentage shares from pending cases in 2009. 

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