G.R. No. 128845 June 1, 2000
International School is a domestic educational institution established primarily for dependents of foreign diplomatic personnel and other temporary residents. The School hires both foreign and local teachers as members of its faculty – they are classified as (1) foreign-hires and (2) local-hires.
The School grants foreign-hires certain benefits not accorded local-hires. These include housing, transportation, shipping costs, taxes, and home leave travel allowance. Foreign-hires are also paid a salary rate twenty-five percent (25%) more than local-hires. The School justifies the difference on two “significant economic disadvantages” foreign-hires have to endure.
When negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement were held, International School Alliance of Educators, petitioner, a legitimate labor union, contested the difference in salary rates between foreign and local-hires.
Petitioner filed a notice of strike. DOLE resolved the issue in favor of the School.
(A) WON the classification employed by the School is discriminatory to Filipinos and that the grant of higher salaries to foreign-hires constitutes racial discrimination
(A) Yes, the point-of-hire classification employed by respondent School to justify the distinction in the salary rates of foreign-hires and local hires to be an invalid classification. There is no reasonable distinction between the services rendered by foreign-hires and local-hires. The practice of the School of according higher salaries to foreign-hires contravenes public policy.
Article XIII, Sec.1 provides that Congress shall give highest priority to the enactment of measures that protect and enhance the right of all the people to human dignity, reduce social, economic, and political inequalities, and remove cultural inequities by equitably diffusing wealth and political power for the common good”.
Article 19 of the Civil Code requires every person, “in the exercise of his rights and in the performance of his duties, [to] act with justice, give everyone his due, and observe honesty and good faith.”
International law, which springs from general principles of law, likewise proscribes discrimination
The Constitution specifically provides that labor is entitled to “humane conditions of work.” These conditions are not restricted to the physical workplace but include as well the manner by which employers treat their employees.
The Labor Code provides that the State shall “ensure equal work opportunities regardless of sex, race or creed.” Discrimination, particularly in terms of wages, is frowned upon by the Labor Code.
While we recognize the need of the School to attract foreign-hires, salaries should not be used as an enticement to the prejudice of local-hires.
The Constitution enjoins the State to “protect the rights of workers and promote their welfare,”25 “to afford labor full protection.”26 The State, therefore, has the right and duty to regulate the relations between labor and capital.27 These relations are not merely contractual but are so impressed with public interest that labor contracts, collective bargaining agreements included, must yield to the common good.28 Should such contracts contain stipulations that are contrary to public policy, courts will not hesitate to strike down these stipulations.
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