Posted: May 1, 2015 in case digests, labor relations
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On July 24, 1991, complainants thru counsel wrote the Regional Director of the Department of Labor and Employment, Bacolod City for intercession particularly in the matter of wages and other benefits mandated by law.

On September 24, 1991, a routine inspection was conducted by personnel of the Bacolod District Office of the Department of Labor and Employment. Accordingly, a report and recommendation was made, hence, the endorsement by the Regional Director of the instant case to the Regional Arbitration Branch, NLRC, Bacolod City for proper hearing and disposition.

On October 15, 1991, complainants alleged to have been terminated without being paid termination benefits by respondent in retaliation to what they have done in reporting to the Department of Labor and Employment their working conditions viz-a-viz (sic) wages and other mandatory benefits.

On July 14, 1992, notification and summons were served to the parties wherein complainants were directed to file a formal complaint.

On July 28, 1992, a formal complaint was filed for illegal dismissal with money claims.

From the records, summons and notices of hearing were served to the parties and apparently no amicable settlement was arrived, hence, the parties were directed to file their respective position papers.

On January 22, 1993, complainant submitted their position paper, while respondent filed its position paper on June 21, 1993.

On March 17, 1994, complainants filed their reply position paper and affidavit. Correspondingly, a rejoinder was filed by respondent on May 16, 1994.

On August 17, 1994, from the Minutes of the scheduled hearing, respondent failed to appear, and that the Office will evaluate the records of the case whether to conduct a formal trial on the merits or not, and that the corresponding order will be issued.

On January 16, 1996, the Labor Arbiter issued an order to the effect that the case is now deemed submitted for resolution.

On April 30, 1998, the Labor Arbiter a quo issued the assailed decision dismissing the complaint for lack of merit.

On June 26, 1998, complainants not satisfied with the aforecited ruling interposed the instant appeal before the NLRC. The NLRC held that respondents attained the status of regular seasonal workers of Hda. Maasin II having worked therein from 1964-1985. It found that petitioner failed to discharge the burden of proving that the termination of respondents was for a just or authorized cause. Hence, respondents were illegally dismissed and should be awarded their money claims.

The Court of Appeals affirmed the NLRC’s ruling, with the modification that the backwages and other monetary benefits shall be computed from the time compensation was withheld in accordance with Article 279 of the Labor Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 6715.

ISSUE: W/N the petitioner is guilty of  illegal dismissal with money claims.

HELD: YES, the Supreme Court dismissed the instant petition and affirmed the Decision of the Court of Appeals base on the following premise:

Petitioner underscores the NLRC decision’s mention of the “payroll” she presented despite the fact that she allegedly presented 235 sets of payroll, not just one payroll. This circumstance does not in itself evince any grave abuse of discretion on the part of the NLRC as it could well have been just an innocuous typographical error.

Verily, the NLRC’s decision, affirmed as it was by the Court of Appeals, appears to have been arrived at after due consideration of the evidence presented by both parties.

The SC finds no reason to disturb the finding that respondents were illegally terminated. When there is no showing of clear, valid and legal cause for the termination of employment, the law considers the matter a case of illegal dismissal and the burden is on the employer to prove that the termination was for a just or authorized cause.25 In this case, as found both by the NLRC and the Court of Appeals, petitioner failed to prove any such cause for the dismissal of respondents.


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