Almirante: Technical rules of procedure-A A +A
Friday, September 27, 2013
Labor case digest
A CASE for illegal dismissal was filed by respondent Amelia R. Francisco against petitioner The Orchard Golf and Country Club. Francisco raised the side issue pertaining to petitioner’s withholding from her the accrued salary differential, merit increases and productivity bonuses since 2011. She claimed that while this case was pending, the petitioner extended salary adjustments, merit increase and productivity bonuses to other employees.
Did these claims prosper?
The petitioner does not refute its grant of salary increases, merit increases and productivity bonuses to other employees. In its attempt to rebuff Francisco’s claim, petitioner merely argues that the same should no longer be entertained because it was never raised before the proceedings below.
Interestingly, it never categorically denied that such salary increases, merit increases and productivity bonuses have indeed been given to the other employees.
At this juncture, it must be stressed that “technical rules of procedure are not binding in labor cases. The application of technical rules of procedure may be relaxed to serve the demands of substantial justice.”(Samahan ng Manggagawa sa Moldex Products, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Commission, 381 Phil. 254, 264 (2000)).
“It is more in keeping with the objective of rendering substantial justice if we brush aside technical rules rather than strictly apply its literal reading. There being no objective reason to further delay this case by insisting on a technicality when the controversy could now be resolved.” (Tiu v. Pasaol, 450 Phil. 370, 378 (2003)).
Moreover, “there is no need to remand this case to the Labor Arbiter for further proceedings, as the facts are clear and complete on the basis of which a decision can be made.” (Samahan ng Manggagawa sa Moldex Products, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Commission, supra).
The Supreme Court found no reason to deprive the respondent of the accrued salary differential, merit increases and productivity bonuses due her since 2001 (The Orchard Golf and Country Club vs. Amelia R. Francisco, G.R. No. 178125, March 18, 2013).
(Almirante is a former labor arbiter.)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 28, 2013.