Labor law; Payment of accrued wages despite reversal of decision. An employer, who, despite the Labor Arbiter’s order of reinstatement, did not reinstate the employee during the pendency of the appeal up to the reversal by a higher tribunal may still be held liable for the accrued wages of the employee, i.e., the unpaid salary accruing up to the time the higher tribunal reverses the decision. The rule, therefore, is that an employee may still recover the accrued wages up to and despite the reversal by the higher tribunal. This entitlement of the employee to the accrued wages proceeds from the immediate and self-executory nature of the reinstatement aspect of the LA’s decision.
Exception. By way of exception to the above rule, an employee may be barred from collecting the accrued wages if shown that the delay in enforcing the reinstatement pending appeal was without fault on the part of the employer. To determine whether an employee is thus barred, two tests must be satisfied: (1) actual delay or the fact that the order of reinstatement pending appeal was not executed prior to its reversal; and (2) the delay must not be due to the employer’s unjustified act or omission. Note that under the second test, the delay must be without the employer’s fault. If the delay is due to the employer’s unjustified refusal, the employer may still be required to pay the salaries notwithstanding the reversal of the LA’s decision.
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Labor law; Retrenchment differentiated from redundancy. Retrenchment and redundancy are two different concepts; they are not synonymous; thus, they should not be used interchangeably.
Redundancy exists where the services of an employee are in excess of what is reasonably demanded by the actual requirements of the enterprise. A position is redundant where it is superfluous, and superfluity of a position or positions may be the outcome of a number of factors, such as over hiring of workers, decreased volume of business, or dropping of a particular product line or service activity previously manufactured or undertaken by the enterprise.
Retrenchment, on the other hand, is used interchangeably with the term “lay-off.” It is the termination of employment initiated by the employer through no fault of the employee’s and without prejudice to the latter, resorted to by management during periods of business recession, industrial depression, or seasonal fluctuations, or during lulls occasioned by lack of orders, shortage of materials, conversion of the plant for a new production program or the introduction of new methods or more efficient machinery, or of automation. Simply put, it is an act of the employer of dismissing employees because of losses in the operation of a business, lack of work, and considerable reduction on the volume of his business, a right consistently recognized and affirmed by this Court.
These rulings appropriately clarify that redundancy does not need to be always triggered by a decline in the business. Primarily, employers resort to redundancy when the functions of an employee have already become superfluous or in excess of what the business requires. Thus, even if a business is doing well, an employer can still validly dismiss an employee from the service due to redundancy if that employee’s position has already become in excess of what the employer’s enterprise requires.
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Labor law; When the dispute involves a charge of illegal dismissal, the action may fall under the jurisdiction of the Labor Arbiter upon whose jurisdiction, as a rule, falls termination disputes and claims for damages arising from employer-employee relations as provided in Article 217 of the Labor Code. Consistent with this jurisprudence, the mere fact that Cosare was a stockholder and an officer of Broadcom at the time the subject controversy developed failed to necessarily make the case an intra-corporate dispute.
Corporate officer as distinguished from a regular employee. There are two circumstances which must concur in order for an individual to be considered a corporate officer, as against an ordinary employee or officer, namely: (1) the creation of the position is under the corporation’s charter or by-laws; and (2) the election of the officer is by the directors or stockholders. It is only when the officer claiming to have been illegally dismissed is classified as such corporate officer that the issue is deemed an intra-corporate dispute which falls within the jurisdiction of the trial courts.
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Labor Law; Issue of the appeal bond’s validity may be raised for the first time on appeal since its proper filing is a jurisdictional requirement. The requirement that the appeal bond should be issued by an accredited bonding company is mandatory and jurisdictional. The rationale of requiring an appeal bond is to discourage the employers from using an appeal to delay or evade the employees’ just and lawful claims. It is intended to assure the workers that they will receive the money judgment in their favor upon the dismissal of the employer’s appeal.
Labor law; A party may only adduce evidence for the first time on appeal if he adequately explains his delay in the submission of evidence and he sufficiently proves the allegations sought to be proven. In labor cases, strict adherence to the technical rules of procedure is not required. However, this liberal policy should still be subject to rules of reason and fair play. The liberality of procedural rules is qualified by two requirements: (1) a party should adequately explain any delay in the submission of evidence; and (2) a party should sufficiently prove the allegations sought to be proven. The reason for these requirements is that the liberal application of the rules before quasi-judicial agencies cannot be used to perpetuate injustice and hamper the just resolution of the case. Neither is the rule on liberal construction a license to disregard the rules of procedure.
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Labor law; Appeal. The rules are explicit that the filing of a bond for the perfection of an appeal by an employer is mandatory and jurisdictional. It is also imperative that in case of a surety bond, the same shall be issued by a reputable bonding company duly accredited by the Commission or the Supreme Court. The requirement that employers post a cash or surety bond to perfect their appeal is apparently intended to assure workers that if they prevail in the case, they will receive the money judgment in their favor upon the dismissal of the former’s appeal. If the bond is invalid due to the surety company’s expired accreditation, the purpose of filing of a bond would be defeated.
Labor law; The filing of a supersedeas bond by a surety who no longer has accreditation has no legal bearing. Section 6, Rule VI of the Rules of Procedure of the NLRC provides that “upon the verification by the Commission that the bond is irregular of genuine, the Commission shall cause the immediate dismissal of appeal.”
In the case at bar, at the time of filing of the supersedeas bond on behalf of Bacman, Intra Strata was no longer an accredited surety company as it itself admitted that it was valid only until 31 January 2012. The defense of good faith does not render valid an otherwise invalid bond. Consequently, without an approval of the Court, the bond defeats the purpose of the law to protect the litigants from spurious surety companies.
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Labor law; Employee has the burden of proving that resignation was not voluntary. Petitioner cannot take refuge in the argument that it is the employer who bears the burden of proof that the resignation is voluntary and not the product of coercion or intimidation. Having submitted a resignation letter, it is then incumbent upon her to prove that the resignation was not voluntary but was actually a case of constructive dismissal with clear, positive, and convincing evidence.
30-day notice requirement from resignation is for the benefit of the employer. The 30-day notice requirement for an employee’s resignation is actually for the benefit of the employer who has the discretion to waive such period. Its purpose is to afford the employer enough time to hire another employee if needed and to see to it that there is proper turn-over of the tasks which the resigning employee may be handling. The rule requiring an employee to stay or complete the 30-day period prior to the effectivity of his resignation becomes discretionary on the part of management as an employee who intends to resign maybe allowed a shorter period before his resignation becomes effective.
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Labor Law; Summarizing the standards for a valid closure or cessation of business operations. (A) Closure or cessation of operations of establishment or undertaking may either be partial or total. (B) Closure or cessation of operations of establishment or undertaking may or may not be due to serious business losses or financial reverses. However, in both instances, proof must be shown that: (1) it was done in good faith to advance the employer’s interest and not for the purpose of defeating or circumventing the rights of employees under the law or a valid agreement; and (2) a written notice on the affected employees and the DOLE is served at least one month before the intended date of termination of employment. (C) The employer can lawfully close shop even if not due to serious business losses or financial reverses but separation pay, which is equivalent to at least one month pay as provided for by Article 283 of the Labor Code, as amended, must be given to all the affected employees. (D) If the closure or cessation of operations of establishment or undertaking is due to serious business losses or financial reverses, the employer must prove such allegation in order to avoid the payment of separation pay. Otherwise, the affected employees are entitled to separation pay. (E) The burden of proving compliance with all the above-stated falls upon the employer.
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