SC orders GMA Network to reinstate workers
Employees who perform functions which are necessary and desirable to the usual business and trade of the employer attain regular status from the time of engagement
The Supreme Court (SC) has ordered GMA Network Inc. to reinstate 30 cameramen and assistant cameramen and pay their back wages, allowances and other benefits from the time of their illegal dismissal in 2013 up to the time of their actual reinstatement.
In a decision penned by Justice Marvic M.V.F. Leonen promulgated on 13 July 2020, the Court’s Third Division declared the petitioners as regular employees of GMA.
The Court further ordered the media network to pay each of the petitioners’ attorney’s fee equivalent to 10 percent of total monetary award accruing to each of them. The amounts due to each petitioner shall bear legal interest at the rate of six percent per annum, to be computed from finality of the Court’s decision until full payment.
The Court remanded the case to the Labor Arbiter for the computation of back wages and other monetary awards due to petitions.
The Court held that only casual employees performing work that is neither necessary nor desirable to the usual business and trade of the employer are required to render at least one year of service to attain regular status.
However, employees who perform functions which are necessary and desirable to the usual business and trade of the employer attain regular status from the time of engagement.
The petitioners were hired between 2005 and 2011 and were all dismissed in May 2013.
The Court noted that there was no showing that the employees, who were paid a meager salary ranging from P750 to P1,500 per taping, were hired because of their unique skills, talent and celebrity status not possessed by ordinary employees.
Likewise, GMA repeatedly engaged petitioners as camera operators for its television programs. As such, petitioners performed activities which are within the regular and usual business of GMA and not identifiably distinct or separate from the other undertakings of the media network.
The Court held that petitioners are regular employees and enjoy the right to security of tenure. Thus, they may only be terminated for just or authorized cause, and after due notice and hearing.