Globe Mackay vs National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC)

G.R. No. 82511 March 3, 1992

FACTS:

Imelda L. Salazar, employee of Globe-Mackay Cable and Delfin Salvidar, manager for technical operation’s support was allegedly very close. In 1984, an audit report indicated that Saldivar had entered into a partnership with Richard Yambao, the owner of Elecon who is a supplier of GMCR  recommended by Saldivar.

It was also disclosed that Saldivar had taken petitioner’s missing Fedders air-conditioning unit for his own personal use without authorization.

During the investigation, it appeared that  Imelda Salazar violated company regulations by involving herself in transactions conflicting with the company’s interests. Evidence showed that she signed as a witness to the articles of partnership between Yambao and Saldivar.

Globe Mackay put Salazar under preventive suspension for one (1) month, within which to, explain her side. But instead of submitting an explanations three (3) days later Salazar filed a complaint against petitioner for illegal suspension.

Labor Arbiter ordered petitioner company to reinstate private respondent. National Labor Relations Commission in affirmed the aforesaid decision with respect to the reinstatement of private respondent but limited the backwages to a period of two (2) years and deleted the award for moral damages.

ISSUES:

(A) WON GMCR had violated Salazar’s right to due process when she was promptly suspended.

(B) WON Salazar is illegally dismissed and shall be entitled of reinstatement and full backwages

HELD:

(A) NO. Under such circumstances, preventive suspension was the proper remedial recourse available to the company pending Salazar’s investigation. By itself, preventive suspension does, not signify that the company has adjudged the employee guilty of the charges she was asked to answer and explain. Such disciplinary measure is resorted to for the protection of the company’s property pending investigation any alleged malfeasance or misfeasance committed by the employee

(B) YES. Salazar’s eventual separation from employment was not for cause. There being no evidence to show an authorized, much less a legal, cause for the dismissal of private respondent, she had every right, not only to be entitled to reinstatement, but ay well, to full backwages.”

However, there may be a ground or grounds for non-application of reinstatement, this should be by way of exception, such as when the reinstatement may be inadmissible due to ensuing strained relations between the employer and the employee.

In such cases, it should be proved that the employee concerned occupies a position where he enjoys the trust and confidence of his employer; and that it is likely that if reinstated, an atmosphere of antipathy and antagonism may be generated as to adversely affect the efficiency and productivity of the employee concerned.

It has not been proved that the position of private respondent as systems analyst is one that may be characterized as a position of trust and confidence such that if reinstated, it may well lead to strained relations between employer and employee. Hence, this does not constitute an exception to the general rule mandating reinstatement for an employee who has been unlawfully dismissed.

Besides, no strained relations should arise from a valid and legal act of asserting one’s right; otherwise an employee who shall assert his right could be easily separated from the service, by merely paying his separation pay on the pretext that his relationship with his employer had already become strained

The principle of “strained relations” cannot be applied indiscriminately. Otherwise reinstatement can never be possible simply because some hostility is invariably engendered between the parties as a result of litigation. That is human nature.

In lieu of reinstatement, the Court has variously ordered the payment of backwages and separation pay or solely separation pay.

NOTES:

GR: Illegal dismissal shall give the employee the right to reinstatement and full backwages (Article 279 of LC). The intendment of the law is to restore the dismissed employee to her status before she lost her job and to give her back the income lost during the period of unemployment.

XPN:  Reinstatement is not applicable when the reinstatement may be inadmissible due to ensuing strained relations between the employer and the employee.

In such cases, it should be proved that the employee concerned occupies a position where he enjoys the trust and confidence of his employer; and that it is likely that if reinstated, an atmosphere of antipathy and antagonism may be generated as to adversely affect the efficiency and productivity of the employee concerned.

  • in view of the long passage of time (22 years of litigation) or because of the realities of the situation;  or
  • that it would be “inimical to the employer’s interest;
  • that reinstatement may no longer be feasible;
  • that it will not serve the best interests of the parties involved; or
  • that the company would be prejudiced by the workers’ continued employment;   or 
  • that it will not serve any prudent purpose as when supervening facts have transpired which make execution on that score unjust or inequitable or,
  • to an increasing extent, due to the resultant atmosphere of “antipathy and antagonism” or “strained relations” or “irretrievable estrangement” between the employer and the employee.

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