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

Daily Tribune (Philippines) - - METRO - BY ALVIN MUR­CIA @tri­bunephl_alvi

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.

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