2. Basic Principles Digest (7-12)
Labor Law digested cases on Basic Principles...
ANGELITO L. LAZARO, Proprietor of Royal Star Marketing, petitioner, vs. SOCIAL SECURIT YCOMMISSION, ROSALINA LAUDATO, SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM and THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, respondents.
FACTS OF THE CASE:
company, 24 and Certificates of Appreciation issued by Royal Star to Laudato in recognition of her unselfish and loyal efforts in promoting the company. 25 On the other hand, Lazaro has failed to present any convincing contrary evidence, relying instead on his bare assertions. The Memorandum evinces the fact that, contrary to Lazaro's claim, Royal Star exercised control over its sales supervisors or agents such as Laudato as to the means and methods through which these personnel performed their work. Petition is denied.
Private respondent Rosalina M. Laudato ("Laudato") filed a petition before the SSC for social security coverage and remittance of unpaid monthly social security contributions against her three (3) employers. Among the respondents was herein petitioner Angelito L. Lazaro ("Lazaro"), proprietor of Royal Star Marketing ("Royal Star"), which is engaged in the business of selling home appliances. the SSC promulgated a Resolution 6 dated 8 November 1995 ruling in favor of Laudato. 7 Applying the "control test," it held that Laudato was an employee of Royal Star, and ordered Royal Star to pay the unremitted social security contributions of Laudato in the amount of Five Thousand Seven Pesos and Thirty Five Centavos (P5,007.35), together with the penalties totaling Twenty Two Thousand Two Hundred Eighteen Pesos and Fifty Four Centavos (P22,218.54). In addition, Royal Star was made liable to pay damages to the SSC in the amount of Fifteen Thousand Six Hundred Eighty Pesos and Seven Centavos (P15,680.07) for not reporting Laudato forsocial security coverage, pursuant to Section 24 of the Social Security Law. ALLEGATION OF THE PETITIONER: 1.
Lazaro denied that Laudato was a sales supervisor of Royal Star, averring instead that she was a mere sales agent whom he paid purely on commission basis. Laudato was not subjected to definite hours and conditions of work. reiterated that Laudato was merely a sales agent who was paid purely on commission basis, not included in the company payroll, and who neither observed regular working hours nor accomplished time cards.
ALLEGATION OF THE RESPONDENT: 1.
despite her employment as sales supervisor of the sales agents for Royal Star from April of 1979 to March of 1986, Lazaro had failed during the said period, to report her to the SSC for compulsory coverage or remit Laudato's social security contributions.
PHILIPPINE GLOBAL COMMUNICATIONS, INC., petitioner, vs. RICARDO DE VERA, respondent.
FACTS OF THE CASE: Petitioner Philippine Global Communications, Inc. (PhilCom), is a corporation engaged in the business of communication services and allied activities, while respondent Ricardo De Vera is a physician by profession whom petitioner enlisted to attend to the medical needs of its employees. At the crux of the controversy is Dr. De Vera's status vis a vis petitioner when the latter terminated his engagement. It appears that on 15 May 1981, De Vera, via a letter dated 15 May 1981, 3 offered his services to the petitioner, therein proposing his plan of works required of a practitioner in industrial medicine The parties agreed and formalized respondent's proposal in a document denominated as RETAINERSHIP CONTRACT 4which will be for a period of one year subject to renewal, it being made clear therein that respondent will cover "the retainership the Company previously had with Dr. K. Eulau" and that respondent's "retainer fee" will be at P4,000.00 a month. Said contract was renewed yearly. 5 The retainership arrangement went on from 1981 to 1994 with changes in the retainer's fee. However, for the years 1995 and 1996, renewal of the contract was only made verbally. December 1996 when Philcom, thru a letter 6 bearing on the subject boldly written as "TERMINATION — RETAINERSHIP CONTRACT", informed De Vera of its decision to discontinue the latter's "retainer's contract with the Company effective at the close of business hours of December 31, 1996" because management has decided that it would be more practical to provide medical services to its employees through accredited hospitals near the company premises. ALLEGATION OF THE RESPONDENT: 1.
Whether or not lauduto is entitled to payment of sss. Whether ther exists an employer-employee relationship
there exists an employer employee relationship because even though lauduto was a sales supervisor or even a sales agent, her work, means and method is subject to the control of the employer.
RULING: It is an accepted doctrine that for the purposes of coverage under the Social Security Act, the determination of employer-employee relationship warrants the application of the "control test," that is, whether the employer controls or has reserved the right to control the employee, not only as to the result of the work done, but also as to the means and methods by which the same is accomplished. 14 The SSC, as sustained by the Court of Appeals, applying the control test found that Laudato was an employee of Royal Star. We find no reversible error. The finding of the SSC that Laudato was an employee of Royal Star is supported by substantial evidence. The SSC examined the cash vouchers issued by Royal Star to Laudato, 23 calling cards of Royal Star denominating Laudato as a "Sales Supervisor" of the
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he had been actually employed by Philcom as its company physician since 1981 and was dismissed without due process. that he was designated as a "company physician on retainer basis" for reasons allegedly known only to Philcom. he worked on a full-time basis and was paid a basic monthly salary plus fringe benefits, like any other regular employees of Philcom.
ISSUE: Whether there exists an employer employee relationship between phil com and de vera?
There is no employer employee relationship. There only exists and independent contractorship
RULING: the Court, in determining the existence of an employer-employee relationship, has invariably adhered to the four-fold test, to wit:  the selection and engagement of the employee;  the payment of wages;  the power of dismissal; and  the power to control the employee's conduct, or the so-called "control test", considered to be the most important element.
Applying the four-fold test to this case, we initially find that it was respondent himself who sets the parameters of what his duties would be in offering his services to petitioner. This is borne by no less than his 15 May 1981 letter The labor arbiter added the indicia, not disputed by respondent, that from the time he started to work with petitioner, he never was included in its payroll; was never deducted any contribution for remittance to the Social Security System (SSS); and was in fact subjected by petitioner to the ten (10%) percent withholding tax for his professional fee, in accordance with the National Internal Revenue Code, matters which are simply inconsistent with an employeremployee relationship. In the precise words of the labor arbiter: ". . . After more than ten years of services to PHILCOM, the complainant would have noticed that no SSS deductions were made on his remuneration or that the respondent was deducting the 10% tax for his fees and he surely would have complained about them if he had considered himself an employee of PHILCOM. But he never raised those issues. An ordinary employee would consider the SSS payments important and thus make sure they would be paid. The complainant never bothered to ask the respondent to remit his SSS contributions. This clearly shows that the complainant never considered himself an employee of PHILCOM and thus, respondent need not remit anything to the SSS in favor of the complainant." The petition is granted ABS-CBN BROADCASTING CORPORATION, petitioner, vs. MARLYN NAZARENO, MERLOU GERZON, JENNIFER DEIPARINE, and JOSEPHINE LERASAN, respondents.
FACTS OF THE CASE: Petitioner ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation (ABS-CBN) is engaged in the broadcasting business and owns a network of television and radio stations, whose operations revolve around the broadcast, transmission, and relay of telecommunication signals. It sells and deals in or otherwise utilizes the airtime it generates from its radio and television operations. It has a franchise as a broadcasting company, and was likewise issued a license and authority to operate by the National Telecommunications Commission. Petitioner employed respondents Nazareno, Gerzon, Deiparine, and Lerasan as production assistants (PAs) on different dates. They were assigned at the news and public affairs, for various radio programs in the Cebu Broadcasting Station, with a monthly compensation ofP4,000. They were issued ABS-CBN employees’ identification cards and were required to work for a minimum of eight hours a day, including Sundays and holidays. On December 19, 1996, petitioner and the ABS-CBN Rank-and-File Employees executed a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) to be effective during the period from December 11, 1996 to December 11, 1999. However, since petitioner refused to recognize PAs as part of the bargaining unit, respondents were not included to the CBA. On October 12, 2000, respondents filed a Complaint for Recognition of Regular Employment Status, Underpayment of Overtime Pay, Holiday Pay, Premium Pay, Service Incentive Pay, Sick Leave Pay, and 13th Month Pay with Damages against the petitioner before the NLRC. ALLEGATION OF THE PETITIONER: 1.
that PAs, reporters, anchors and talents occasionally "sideline" for other programs they produce, such as drama talents in other productions. As program employees, a PA’s engagement is coterminous with the completion of the program, and may be extended/renewed provided that the program is on-going; a PA may also be assigned to new programs upon the cancellation of one program and the commencement of another. As such program employees, their compensation is computed on a program basis, a fixed amount for performance services irrespective of the time consumed. At any rate, petitioner claimed, as the payroll will
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show, respondents were paid all salaries and benefits due them under the law. 2.
Petitioner also alleged that the Labor Arbiter had no jurisdiction to involve the CBA and interpret the same, especially since respondents were not covered by the bargaining unit.
ALLEGATION OF THE RESPONDENT: 1.
Complainants were engaged by respondent ABS-CBN as regular and full-time employees for a continuous period of more than five (5) years with a monthly salary rate of Four Thousand (P4,000.00) pesos beginning 1995 up until the filing of this complaint on November 20, 2000. insisted that they belonged to a "work pool" from which petitioner chose persons to be given specific assignments at its discretion, and were thus under its direct supervision and control regardless of nomenclature.
ISSUE: respondents are not mere project employees, but regular employees who perform tasks necessary and desirable in the usual trade and business of petitioner and not just its project employees. RULING: We agree with respondents’ contention that where a person has rendered at least one year of service, regardless of the nature of the activity performed, or where the work is continuous or intermittent, the employment is considered regular as long as the activity exists, the reason being that a customary appointment is not indispensable before one may be formally declared as having attained regular status. Article 280 of the Labor Code provides: ART. 280. REGULAR AND CASUAL EMPLOYMENT.—The provisions of written agreement to the contrary notwithstanding and regardless of the oral agreement of the parties, an employment shall be deemed to be regular where the employee has been engaged to perform activities which are usually necessary or desirable in the usual business or trade of the employer except where the employment has been fixed for a specific project or undertaking the completion or termination of which has been determined at the time of the engagement of the employee or where the work or services to be performed is seasonal in nature and the employment is for the duration of the season. The primary standard, therefore, of determining regular employment is the reasonable connection between the particular activity performed by the employee in relation to the usual trade or business of the employer. The test is whether the former is usually necessary or desirable in the usual business or trade of the employer. The connection can be determined by considering the nature of work performed and its relation to the scheme of the particular business or trade in its entirety. Also, if the employee has been performing the job for at least a year, even if the performance is not continuous and merely intermittent, the law deems repeated and continuing need for its performance as sufficient evidence of the necessity if not indispensability of that activity to the business. Hence, the employment is considered regular, but only with respect to such activity and while such activity exists. In determining whether an employment should be considered regular or non-regular, the applicable test is the reasonable connection between the particular activity performed by the employee in relation to the usual business or trade of the employer. The standard, supplied by the law itself, is whether the work undertaken is necessary or desirable in the usual business or trade of the employer, a fact that can be assessed by looking into the nature of the services rendered and its relation to the general scheme under which the business or trade is pursued in the usual course. Not considered regular employees are "project employees," the completion or termination of which is more or less determinable at the time of employment, such as those employed in connection with a particular construction project, and "seasonal employees" whose employment by its nature is only desirable for a limited period of time. Even then, any employee who has rendered at least one year of service, whether continuous or intermittent, is deemed regular with respect to the activity performed and while such activity actually exists.
Respondents cannot be considered "talents" because they are not actors or actresses or radio specialists or mere clerks or utility employees. They are regular employees who perform several different duties under the control and direction of ABS-CBN executives and supervisors.
there are two kinds of regular employees under the law: (1) those engaged to perform activities which are necessary or desirable in the usual business or trade of the employer; and (2) those casual employees who have rendered at least one year of service, whether continuous or broken, with respect to the activities in which they are employed. It is obvious that one year after they were employed by petitioner, respondents became regular employees by operation of law PETITION OF THE ABS CBN IS DENIED ANGELINA FRANCISCO, Petitioner, vs. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, KASEI CORPORATION, SEIICHIRO TAKAHASHI, TIMOTEO ACEDO, DELFIN LIZA, IRENE BALLESTEROS, TRINIDAD LIZA and RAMON ESCUETA, Respondents. FACTS OF THE CASE: In 1995, petitioner was hired by Kasei Corporation during its incorporation stage. She was designated as Accountant and Corporate Secretary and was assigned to handle all the accounting needs of the company. She was also designated as Liaison Officer to the City of Makati to secure business permits, construction permits and other licenses for the initial operation of the company. Although she was designated as Corporate Secretary, she was not entrusted with the corporate documents; neither did she attend any board meeting nor required to do so. She never prepared any legal document and never represented the company as its Corporate Secretary. However, on some occasions, she was prevailed upon to sign documentation for the company. 1996, petitioner was designated Acting Manager. The corporation also hired Gerry Nino as accountant in lieu of petitioner. As Acting Manager, petitioner was assigned to handle recruitment of all employees and perform management administration functions; represent the company in all dealings with government agencies, especially with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), Social Security System (SSS) and in the city government of Makati; and to administer all other matters pertaining to the operation of Kasei Restaurant which is owned and operated by Kasei Corporation. 7 For five years, petitioner performed the duties of Acting Manager. As of December 31, 2000 her salary was P27,500.00 plus P3,000.00 housing allowance and a 10% share in the profit of Kasei Corporation. January 2001, petitioner was replaced by Liza R. Fuentes as Manager. Kasei Corporation reduced her salary by P2,500.00 a month beginning January up to September 2001 for a total reduction of P22,500.00 as of September 2001. Petitioner was not paid her mid-year bonus allegedly because the company was not earning well. On October 2001, petitioner did not receive her salary from the company. She made repeated follow-ups with the company cashier but she was advised that the company was not earning well. On October 15, 2001, petitioner asked for her salary from Acedo and the rest of the officers but she was informed that she is no longer connected with the company. Since she was no longer paid her salary, petitioner did not report for work and filed an action for constructive dismissal before the labor arbiter. ALLEGATION OF THE PETITIONER: 1.
she was required to sign a prepared resolution for her replacement but she was assured that she would still be connected with Kasei Corporation.
ALLEGATIONS OF THE RESPONDENTS:
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They alleged that petitioner was hired in 1995 as one of its technical consultants on accounting matters and act concurrently as Corporate Secretary. As technical consultant, petitioner performed her work at her own discretion without control and supervision of Kasei Corporation. Petitioner had no daily time record and she came to the office any time she wanted. The company never interfered with her work except that from time to time, the management would ask her opinion on matters relating to her profession. Petitioner did not go through the usual procedure of selection of employees, but her services were engaged through a Board Resolution designating her as technical consultant. The money received by petitioner from the corporation was her professional fee subject to the 10% expanded withholding tax on professionals, and that she was not one of those reported to the BIR or SSS as one of the company’s employees.
ISSUE: Whether or not the petitioner was illegally dimissed?
The corporation constructively dismissed petitioner when it reduced her salary by P2,500 a month from January to September 2001. A diminution of pay is prejudicial to the employee and amounts to constructive dismissal. Constructive dismissal is an involuntary resignation resulting in cessation of work resorted to when continued employment becomes impossible, unreasonable or unlikely; when there is a demotion in rank or a diminution in pay; or when a clear discrimination, insensibility or disdain by an employer becomes unbearable to an employee. where an employee ceases to work due to a demotion of rank or a diminution of pay, an unreasonable situation arises which creates an adverse working environment rendering it impossible for such employee to continue working for her employer. Hence, her severance from the company was not of her own making and therefore amounted to an illegal termination of employment.
Whether there is an employer employee relationship?
There exists an employer employee relationship applying the two tiered approach in determining the relationship of employees
RULING: there has been no uniform test to determine the existence of an employer-employee relation. Generally, courts have relied on the socalled right of control test where the person for whom the services are performed reserves a right to control not only the end to be achieved but also the means to be used in reaching such end. In addition to the standard of right-of-control, the existing economic conditions prevailing between the parties, like the inclusion of the employee in the payrolls, can help in determining the existence of an employeremployee relationship. in certain cases the control test is not sufficient to give a complete picture of the relationship between the parties, owing to the complexity of such a relationship where several positions have been held by the worker. There are instances when, aside from the employer’s power to control the employee with respect to the means and methods by which the work is to be accomplished, economic realities of the employment relations help provide a comprehensive analysis of the true classification of the individual, whether as employee, independent contractor, corporate officer or some other capacity. The better approach would therefore be to adopt a two-tiered test involving: (1) the putative employer’s power to control the employee with respect to the means and methods by which the work is to be accomplished; and (2) the underlying economic realities of the activity or relationship.
G.R. No. 142625
December 19, 2006
ROGELIO P. NOGALES, for himself and on behalf of the minors, ROGER ANTHONY, ANGELICA, NANCY, and MICHAEL CHRISTOPHER, all surnamed NOGALES, petitioners, vs. CAPITOL MEDICAL CENTER, DR. OSCAR ESTRADA, DR. ELY VILLAFLOR, DR. ROSA UY, DR. JOEL ENRIQUEZ, DR. PERPETUA LACSON, DR. NOE ESPINOLA, and NURSE J. DUMLAO, respondents.
ISSUE: 1. 2.
FACTS OF THE CASE: Pregnant with her fourth child, Corazon Nogales ("Corazon"), who was then 37 years old, was under the exclusive prenatal care of Dr. Oscar Estrada ("Dr. Estrada") beginning on her fourth month of pregnancy or as early as December 1975. While Corazon was on her last trimester of pregnancy, Dr. Estrada noted an increase in her blood pressure and development of leg edema5 indicating preeclampsia,6 which is a dangerous complication of pregnancy. Around midnight of 25 May 1976, Corazon started to experience mild labor pains Dr. Estrada advised her immediate admission to the Capitol Medical Center Based on the Doctor's Order Sheet,11 around 3:00 a.m., Dr. Estrada ordered for 10 mg. of valium to be administered immediately by intramuscular injection. Dr. Joel Enriquez ("Dr. Enriquez"), an anesthesiologist at CMC, was notified at 4:15 a.m. of Corazon's admission. Subsequently, when asked if he needed the services of an anesthesiologist, Dr. Estrada refused. Despite Dr. Estrada's refusal, Dr. Enriquez stayed to observe Corazon's condition. Corazon later on delivered the baby but was very weak and needs to be intubated and resuscitated. When the baby was out using forceps, the cervical tissues of Corazon was already torn and so profuse vaginal bleeding occurred. Dr. Espinola, who was fetched from his residence by an ambulance, arrived at the CMC about an hour later or at 9:00 a.m. He examined the patient and ordered some resuscitative measures to be administered. Despite Dr. Espinola's efforts, Corazon died at 9:15 a.m. The cause of death was "hemorrhage, post partum." On 14 May 1980, petitioners filed a complaint for damages15 with the Regional Trial Court16 of Manila against CMC, Dr. Estrada, Dr. Villaflor, Dr. Uy, Dr. Enriquez, Dr. Lacson, Dr. Espinola, and a certain Nurse J. Dumlao for the death of Corazon. Charged CMC with negligence in the selection and supervision of defendant physicians and hospital staff. After more than 11 years of trial, the trial court rendered judgment on 22 November 1993 finding Dr. Estrada solely liable for damages. The trial court ruled as follows: The victim was under his pre-natal care, apparently, his fault began from his incorrect and inadequate management and lack of treatment of the pre-eclamptic condition of his patient. On 6 February 1998, the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the trial court. ALLEGATIONS OF THE PETITIONER: 1. 2. 3.
defendant physicians and CMC personnel were negligent in the treatment and management of Corazon's condition. claimed that aside from Dr. Estrada, the remaining respondents should be held equally liable for negligence. CMC, in allowing Dr. Estrada to practice and admit patients at CMC, should be liable for Dr. Estrada's malpractice.
ALLEGATIONS OF THE RESPONDENTS: 1.
CMC disclaims liability by asserting that Dr. Estrada was a mere visiting physician and that it admitted Corazon because her physical condition then was classified an emergency obstetrics case. alleges that Dr. Estrada is an independent contractor "for whose actuations CMC would be a total stranger." it had no control or supervision over Dr. Estrada in the exercise of his medical profession.
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is the Capitol Medical Center is solidarily liable for the negligence committed by Dr. Estrada? Is there an employee-employer relationship between Dr. Estrada and Capitol Medical Center? a. whether CMC is automatically exempt from liability considering that Dr. Estrada is an independent contractor-physician.
RULING: "borrowed servant" doctrine considering that Dr. Estrada was an independent contractor who was merely exercising hospital privileges. This doctrine provides that once the surgeon enters the operating room and takes charge of the proceedings, the acts or omissions of operating room personnel, and any negligence associated with such acts or omissions, are imputable to the surgeon.
While the assisting physicians and nurses may be employed by the hospital, or engaged by the patient, they normally become the temporary servants or agents of the surgeon in charge while the operation is in progress, and liability may be imposed upon the surgeon for their negligent acts under the doctrine of respondeat superior.
private hospitals, hire, fire and exercise real control over their attending and visiting "consultant" staff. While "consultants" are not, technically employees, a point which respondent hospital asserts in denying all responsibility for the patient's condition, the control exercised, the hiring, and the right to terminate consultants all fulfill the important hallmarks of an employeremployee relationship, with the exception of the payment of wages. In assessing whether such a relationship in fact exists, the control test is determining. Accordingly, on the basis of the foregoing, we rule that for the purpose of allocating responsibility in medical negligence cases, an employeremployee relationship in effect exists between hospitals and their attending and visiting physicians. The basis for holding an employer solidarily responsible for the negligence of its employee is found in Article 2180 of the Civil Code which considers a person accountable not only for his own acts but also for those of others based on the former's responsibility under a relationship of patria potestas. the control test, such test essentially determines whether an employment relationship exists between a physician and a hospital based on the exercise of control over the physician as to details. Specifically, the employer (or the hospital) must have the right to control both the means and the details of the process by which the employee (or the physician) is to accomplish his task. the Court finds no single evidence pointing to CMC's exercise of control over Dr. Estrada's treatment and management of Corazon's condition. It is undisputed that throughout Corazon's pregnancy, she was under the exclusive prenatal care of Dr. Estrada. At the time of Corazon's admission at CMC and during her delivery, it was Dr. Estrada, assisted by Dr. Villaflor, who attended to Corazon. There was no showing that CMC had a part in diagnosing Corazon's condition. While Dr. Estrada enjoyed staff privileges at CMC, such fact alone did not make him an employee of CMC.42 CMC merely allowed Dr. Estrada to use its facilities43 when Corazon was about to give birth, which CMC considered an emergency. Considering these circumstances, Dr. Estrada is not an employee of CMC, but an independent contractor. In general, a hospital is not liable for the negligence of an independent contractor-physician. There is, however, an exception to this principle. The hospital may be liable if the physician is the "ostensible" agent of the hospital.44This exception is also known as the "doctrine of apparent authority." CMC impliedly held out Dr. Estrada as a member of its medical staff. Through CMC's acts, CMC clothed Dr. Estrada with apparent authority thereby leading the Spouses Nogales to believe that Dr. Estrada was an employee or agent of CMC. CMC cannot now repudiate such authority.
First, CMC granted staff privileges to Dr. Estrada. CMC extended its medical staff and facilities to Dr. Estrada. Upon Dr. Estrada's request for Corazon's admission, CMC, through its personnel, readily accommodated Corazon and updated Dr. Estrada of her condition. Second, CMC made Rogelio sign consent forms printed on CMC letterhead. Prior to Corazon's admission and supposed hysterectomy, CMC asked Rogelio to sign release forms, the contents of which reinforced Rogelio's belief that Dr. Estrada was a member of CMC's medical staff. CMC's defense that all it did was "to extend to [Corazon] its facilities" is untenable. The Court cannot close its eyes to the reality that hospitals, such as CMC, are in the business of treatment. the release forms of CMC cannot relieve CMC from liability for the negligent medical treatment of Corazon. WHEREFORE, the Court PARTLY GRANTS the petition. The Court finds respondent Capitol Medical Center vicariously liable for the negligence of Dr. Oscar Estrada. The amounts of P105,000 as actual damages andP700,000 as moral damages should each earn legal interest at the rate of six percent (6%) per annum computed from the date of the judgment of the trial court. The Court affirms the rest of the Decision dated 6 February 1998 and Resolution dated 21 March 2000 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 45641. SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 146881
February 5, 2007
COCA COLA BOTTLERS (PHILS.), INC./ERIC MONTINOLA, Manager, Petitioners, vs. DR. DEAN N. CLIMACO, Respondent. FACTS OF THE CASE: Respondent Dr. Dean N. Climaco is a medical doctor who was hired by petitioner Coca-Cola Bottlers Phils., Inc. by virtue of a Retainer Agreement. The Retainer Agreement, which began on January 1, 1988, was renewed annually. The last one expired on December 31, 1993. Despite the non-renewal of the Retainer Agreement, respondent continued to perform his functions as company doctor to Coca-Cola until he received a letter4 dated March 9, 1995 from petitioner company concluding their retainership agreement effective 30 days from receipt thereof. It is noted that as early as September 1992, petitioner was already making inquiries regarding his status with petitioner company. First, he wrote a letter addressed to Dr. Willie Sy, the Acting President and Chairperson of the Committee on Membership, Philippine College of Occupational Medicine. In response, Dr. Sy wrote a letter5 to the Personnel Officer of Coca-Cola Bottlers Phils., Bacolod City, stating that respondent should be considered as a regular part-time physician, having served the company continuously for four (4) years. He likewise stated that respondent must receive all the benefits and privileges of an employee under Article 157 (b)6 of the Labor Code. Petitioner company, however, did not take any action. November 28, 1996, Labor Arbiter Jesus N. Rodriguez, Jr. found that petitioner company lacked the power of control over respondent’s performance of his duties, and recognized as valid the Retainer Agreement between the parties. November 28, 1997, the NLRC dismissed the appeal in both cases for lack of merit. It declared that no employer-employee relationship existed between petitioner company and respondent based on the provisions of the Retainer Agreement which contract governed respondent’s employment.
ALLEGATIONS OF THE PETITIONER (coca-cola): 1.
they exercised no control over petitioner for the reason that the latter was not directed as to the procedure and manner of performing his assigned tasks. complainant maintains his own private clinic attending to his private practice in the city, where he services his patients, bills them accordingly
ALLEGATIONS OF THE RESPONDENTS: 1. 2.
since he is on call at anytime of the day and night makes him a regular employee is off-tangent. That he has been working for the company for more than 1 year and therefore he should be treated as a regular employee.
whether or not there exists an employer-employee relationship between the parties whether the termination of respondent’s employment is illegal.
RULING: The Court, in determining the existence of an employer-employee relationship, has invariably adhered to the four-fold test: (1) the selection and engagement of the employee; (2) the payment of wages; (3) the power of dismissal; and (4) the power to control the employee’s conduct, or the so-called "control test," considered to be the most important element. The Labor Arbiter and the NLRC correctly found that petitioner company lacked the power of control over the performance by respondent of his duties. The Labor Arbiter reasoned that the Comprehensive Medical Plan, which contains the respondent’s objectives, duties and obligations, does not tell respondent "how to conduct his physical examination, how to immunize, or how to diagnose and treat his patients, employees of [petitioner] company, in each case." the Labor Arbiter held that petitioner company, through the Comprehensive Medical Plan, provided guidelines merely to ensure that the end result was achieved, but did not control the means and methods by which respondent performed his assigned tasks. The NLRC affirmed the findings of the Labor Arbiter and stated that it is precisely because the company lacks the power of control that the contract provides that respondent shall be directly responsible to the employee concerned and their dependents for any injury, harm or damage caused through professional negligence, incompetence or other valid causes of action. The Labor Arbiter also correctly found that the provision in the Retainer Agreement that respondent was on call during emergency cases did not make him a regular employee. Considering that there is no employer-employee relationship between the parties, the termination of the Retainership Agreement, which is in accordance with the provisions of the Agreement, does not constitute illegal dismissal of respondent. Consequently, there is no basis for the moral and exemplary damages granted by the Court of Appeals to respondent due to his alleged illegal dismissal. WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED and the Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The Decision and Resolution dated November 28, 1997 and August 7, 1998, respectively, of the National Labor Relations Commission are REINSTATED.
July 7, 2000, the Court of Appeals ruled that an employer-employee relationship existed between petitioner company and respondent after applying the four-fold test: (1) the power to hire the employee; (2) the payment of wages; (3) the power of dismissal; and (4) the employer’s power to control the employee with respect to the means and methods by which the work is to be accomplished.
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