Employers and Managers Labor Code

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by Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez



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Employers and Managers Labor Code

Employers and Managers Labor Code

by Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez



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Employers and HR managers are entitled to equal justice. No less than the Philippine Constitution mandates that the State shall regulate the relations between workers and employers, recognizing the right of labor to its just share in the fruits of production and the right of enterprises to reasonable returns on investments and to expansion and growth. (Art. XIII, Sec. 3, 1987 Philippine Constitution).

Whilst that same Constitutional provision mandates full protection to labor, it does not mean that the labor laws would allow oppression of capital. Protection to labor, as a principle in labor law, has gained wide acceptance not only in the Philippines, but also worldwide. Employers and HR Managers however, hasten to stress that protection to labor, should not result to an undue infringement of management prerogatives, much less an impairment of the businessmen’s property rights. It should never be tantamount in depriving entrepreneurs their property without the due process of law.

The Supreme Court, in an array of cases, has repeatedly emphasized that protection to labor should not result to the same sort of reversed injustice, whereby the party that is often portrayed as oppressor should now become the oppressed. In fact, the time-honored definition of social justice (Calalang v. Williams, 70 Phil. 728), stressed that it should be “neither communism, nor despotism, nor atomism, nor anarchy, but the humanization of the laws and the equalization of social and economic forces of the State x x x.’’ Therefore, even the principle of social justice does not allow any attempt at disturbing the social equilibrium, which is the stable foundation of a just and humane society.

The High Court warned all parties that the mandate for protection of the working class should not be the proximate cause of killing the proverbial hen that lays the golden eggs. Both the labor sector and the Government should not be unmindful of the legal truism that justice in every case is for the deserving, to be dispensed with objectively and dispassionately, in the light of proven facts and in accordance with the applicable law and controlling jurisprudence. (H.S.L.A. v. NLRC, GR 97067, 26 Sept. 1996)

The High Tribunal always reminds all concerned that “the law, in protecting the rights of the employees, authorizes neither oppression nor self-destruction of the employer.’’ (Del Carmen v. NLRC, 203 SCRA 245, 1991) Thus, in another case, it was stressed: “It bears emphasis that the employer is free to regulate all aspects of employment according to his own discretion and judgment. This prerogative flows from the established rulethat labor laws do not authorize substitution of judgment of the employer in the conduct of his business. (Grepalife Employees Union v. Grepalife, GR 126717, 11 Feb. 1999)

In another case, the Highest Court of the land said: “To hold otherwise would not only be oppressive and inhuman, but also counter-productive and ultimately subversive of the nations’ thrust towards a resurgence in our economy, which should ultimately benefitthe majority of our people.’’ (Sime Darby v. NLRC, CA-SP 49991, 25 Feb. 1999, citing Mercury Drug v. NLRC, 177 SCRA 580, 1989) Again, the Supreme Court declared: “Even as the law is solicitous of the welfare of the employees, it must also protect the right of an employer to exercise what is clearly a management prerogative. (J.A.T. General Services v. NLRC, GR 148340, 26 Jan. 2004)

If there are cases where the Court tilts the scale of justice in favor of labor, it is but a recognition of the inherent economic inequality between labor and management. The Court explained that the intent is to balance the scale of justice and to put the parties on a relatively equal position. The Court however, strongly emphasized a caveat: never should the scale of justice be so tilted if the result is an injustice to the employer. “JUSTITIA NEMINI NEGANDA EST.’’ Justice is to be denied to none. (SMCEU v. Bersamira, GR 87700, 13 June 1990)

The main purpose of this book is to reassure the employers and their managers that indeed, in this country, there is equal protection of the law, and that employers, like labor, are also entitled to be heard, a day in court, in the name of substantive and procedural due process. While the laws are not perfect, since both the lawmakers and the implementors and interpreters of the law are human beings, there is a strong mandate to search for a balance between workers’ rights and the employers’ prerogative.

This balance should be preserved in order to make sure that the social compact between labor and capital is protected and maintained. Such compact is a vital foundation of what we are all building — a just and humane society.

This volume is the first of the two that I have specifically written for Employers and Managers. This covers both Labor Standards and Labor Relations. The second volume covers management prerogatives to discipline and dismiss employees based on just and/or authorized causes and in accordance with the process.

It is hoped that management finds this useful in their daily task of leading and managing people.

Author(s)Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez
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