2019 BAR EXAMINATION
LABOR LAW AND SOCIAL LEGISLATION

– Part II –

B.11.

Briefly discuss the powers and responsibilities of the following in the scheme of the Labor Code:

(a) Secretary of Labor (2%)
(b) Bureau of Labor Relations (2%)
(c) Voluntary Arbitrators (2%)

B.12.

Due to serious business reverses, ABC Co. decided to terminate the services of several officers receiving “fat” compensation packages. One of these officers was Mr. X, its Vice-President for External Affairs and a member of the Board of Directors. Aggrieved, Mr. X filed a complaint for illegal dismissal before the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) – Regional Arbitration Branch. ABC Co. moved for the dismissal of the case on the ground of lack of jurisdiction, asserting that since Mr. X occupied the position of Vice-President for External Affairs which is listed in the by-laws of the corporation, the case should have been filed before the Regional Trial Court.

The Labor Arbiter (LA) denied ABC Co. ‘s motion and proceeded to rule that Mr. X was illegally dismissed. Hence, he was reinstated in ABC Co. ‘s payroll pending its appeal to the NLRC.

(a) Did the LA err in denying ABC Co.’s motion to dismiss on the ground of lack of jurisdiction? Explain. (2.5%)
(b) Assuming that jurisdiction is not at issue and that the NLRC reverses the LA’s ruling of illegal dismissal with finality, may ABC Co. claim reimbursement for the amounts it paid to Mr. X during the time that he was on payroll reinstatement pending appeal? Explain. (2.5%)

B.13.

Mr. A signed a one (1)-year contract with XYZ Recruitment Co. for deployment as welding supervisor for DEF, Inc. located in Dubai. The employment contract, which the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) approved, stipulated a salary ofUS$600.00 a month.

Mr. A had only been in his job in Dubai for six (6) months when DEF, Inc. announced that it was suffering from severe financial losses and thus intended to retrench some of its workers, among them Mr. A. DEF, Inc. hinted, however, that employees who would accept a lower salary could be retained.

Together with some other Filipino workers, Mr. A agreed to a reduced salary ofUS$400.00 a month and thus, continued with his employment.

(a) Was the reduction of Mr. A’s salary valid? Explain. (2.5%)
(b) Assuming that the reduction was invalid, may Mr. A hold XYZ Recruitment Co. liable for underpayment of wages? Explain. (2.5%)

B.14.

Upon a review of the wage rate and structure pertaining to its regular rank and file employees, K Corporation found it necessary to increase its hiring rates for employees belonging to the different job classification levels to make their salary rates more competitive in the labor market.

After the implementation of the new hiring salary, Union X, the exclusive bargaining agent of the rank and file employees, demanded a similar salary adjustment for the old employees. It argued that the increase in hiring rates resulted in wage distortion since it erased the wage gap between the new and old employees.

In other words, new employees would enjoy almost the same salary rates as K Corporation’s old employees.

(a) What is wage distortion? (2%)
(b) Did a wage distortion arise under the circumstances which legally obligated K Corporation to rectify the wages of its old employees? Explain. (3%)

B.15.

On December 1, 2018, GHI Co., an organized establishment, and Union J, the exclusive bargaining agent therein, executed a five (5)-year collective bargaining agreement (CBA) which, after ratification, was registered with the Bureau of Labor Relations.

(a) When can the union ask, at the earliest, for the renegotiation of all the terms of the CBA, except its representation aspect? Explain. (2.5%)
(b) When is the earliest time that another union can file for a petition for certification election? Explain. (2.5%)

B.16.

W Ship Management, Inc. hired Seafarer G as bosun in its vessel under the terms of the 2010 Philippine Overseas Employment Administration – Standard Employment Contract (POEA-SEC).

On his sixth (6th) month on board, Seafarer G fell ill while working. In particular, he complained of stomach pain, general weakness, and fresh blood in his stool. When his illness persisted, he was medically repatriated on January 15, 2018.

On the same day, Seafarer G submitted himself to a post-employment medical examination, wherein he was referred for further treatment. As of September 30, 2018, Seafarer G has yet to be issued any fit-to-work certification by the company designated physician, much less a final and definitive assessment of his actual condition. Since Seafarer G still felt unwell, he sought an opinion from a doctor of his choice who later issued an independent assessment stating that he was totally and permanently disabled due to his illness sustained during work.

Seafarer G then proceeded to file a claim for total and permanent disability compensation. The company asserts that the claim should be dismissed due to prematurity since Seafarer G failed to first settle the matter through the third-doctor conflict resolution procedure as provided under the 2010 PO EA-SEC.

(a) What is the third-doctor couflict resolution procedure under the 2010 POEA-SEC? Explain. (2%)
(b) Will Seafarer G’s claim for total and permanent disability benefits prosper despite his failure to first settle the matter through the third-doctor conflict resolution procedure? Explain. (3%)
(c) Assuming that Seafarer G failed to submit himself to a postemployment medical examination within three (3) working days from his return, what is the consequence thereof to his disability claim? Explain. (2 % )

B.17.

Ms. A is a volleyball coach with five (5) years of experience in her field.

Before the start of the volleyball season of 2015, she was hired for the sole purpose of overseeing the training and coaching of the University’s volleyball team. During her hiring, the Vice-President for Sports expressed to Ms. A the University’s expectation that she would bring the University a championship at the end of the year.

In her first volleyball season, the University placed ninth (9th) out of 10 participating teams. Soon after the end of the season, the Vice-President for Sports informed Ms. A that she was a mere probationary employee and hence, she need not come back for the next season because of the poor performance of the team. In any case, the Vice-President for Sports claimed that Ms. A was a fixed-term employee whose contract had ended at the close of the year.

(a) Is Ms. A a probationary, fixed-term, or regular employee? Explain your reasons as to why she is or she is not such kind of an employee for each of the types of employment given. (5%)
(b) Assuming that Ms. A was dismissed by the University for serious misconduct but was never given a notice to explain, what is the consequence of a procedurally infirm dismissal from service under our Labor law and jurisprudence? Explain. (2%)

B.18.

When resolving a case of unfair labor practice (ULP) filed by a union, what should be the critical point of analysis to determine if an act constitutes ULP? (2.5%)

B.19.

Because of dwindling sales and the consequent limitation of production, rumors were rife that XYZ, Inc. would reduce its employee force. The next day, the employees of XYZ, Inc. received a notice that the company will have a winding down period of 10 days, after which there will be a six (6)-month suspension of operations to allow the company to address its precarious financial position.

On the fourth (4th) month of suspension of its operations, XYZ, Inc. posted an announcement that it will resume its operations in 60 days but at the same time announced that instead of closing down due to financial losses, it will retrench 50% of the work force.

(a) Is the announcement that there would be retrenchment affecting 50% of the work force sufficient compliance with the legal requirements for retrenchment? Explain. (2.5%)
(b) Assuming that XYZ, Inc., instead of retrenchment, extended the suspension of its operations from six (6) months to eight (8) months, would the same be legally permissible? If not, what are the consequences? (2.5%)

B.20.

Discuss the differences between compulsory and voluntary/ optional retirement as well as the minimum benefits provided under the Labor Code for retiring employees of private establishments. (2.5%)