Almirante: Management prerogative

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Saturday, December 22, 2012


Dominador Almirante
Labor case digest

ON JAN. 1, 1996, respondent ABS-CBN Head Office in Manila issued Policy No. HR-ER-016 requiring that an employee who intends to run for any public office must file a letter of resignation.

On March 25, 1998, Dante Luzon, who was then the Cebu assistant station manager, issued a memorandum informing the petitioner, Ernesto G. Ymbong, that per company policy, any employee/talent who wants to run for any position in the then coming election will have to file a leave of absence.

Petitioner Ymbong claims that pursuant to the March 25, 1998 memorandum, he informed Luzon that he would take a leave of absence from March 8, 1998 to May 18, 1998 since he was running for councilor of Lapu-Lapu City.

When he lost in his bid, he tried to come back to respondent ABS-CBN but was turned down because of company policy. Thus, he filed a complaint for illegal dismissal contending that the ground relied upon by respondents is not among the just and authorized causes provided in the Labor Code. Does this contention find merit?

Ruling: No.

The Supreme Court has consistently held that so long as a company’s management prerogatives are exercised in good faith for the advancement of the employer’s interest and not for the purpose of defeating or circumventing the rights of the employees under special laws or under valid agreements, the Court will uphold them.

In the instant case, ABS-CBN validly justified the implementation of Policy No. HR-ER-016. It is well within its rights to ensure that it maintains its objectivity and credibility and frees itself from any appearance of impartiality so that the confidence of the viewing and listening public in it will not be in any way eroded.

Even as the law is solicitous of the welfare of the employees, it must also protect the right of an employer to exercise what are clearly management prerogatives. The free will of management to conduct its own business affairs to achieve its purpose cannot be denied.

It is worth noting that such exercise of management prerogative has earned a stamp of approval from no less than our Congress itself when on Feb. 12, 2001, it enacted Republic Act No. 9006, otherwise known as the “Fair Election Act.” (Ernesto G. Ymbong vs. ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp., et. al., G.R. No. 184885, March 7, 2012).

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 22, 2012.

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