MANILA – The Court of Appeals (CA) has ordered broadcast firm GMA Network to reinstate 51 of its employees who filed a labor suit for their regularization.
“Accordingly, the court finds the employees to be regular employees of respondent GMA and is entitled to reinstatement without loss of seniority rights, full back wages inclusive of allowance and any and all benefit regular employees of GMA receives computed from the time his or her compensation was withheld up to the time of his or her actual reinstatement,” the CA’s 15th Division said in a decision dated February 19 and released Tuesday.
The court said out of the 51, the 15 talents who picketed outside GMA’s premises are not guilty of gross habitual neglect of duty under the Labor Code.
Aside from particular dates when the 15 were absent, it held that GMA did not present any other instance when they committed other “unauthorized absences, which negates the very definition of habituality”.
The rest of the employees who were not renewed, the CA said, are considered regular employees adding that “the non-renewal of their talent agreements constituted constructive and/or illegal dismissal on the part of GMA.”
GMA had insisted that the 35 employees were simply not renewed on the ground that some of them refused, failed to reply to their offer or performed poorly.
The court, however, noted that in the General Terms cited by GMA in its actions, the renewal of contracts should be done prior to the expiration of the contract.
The court said GMA “should have complied with the procedural due process” in terminating its employees especially since petitioners are regular employees, adding that it is not enough that employees’ contracts were simply not renewed for it to comply with the requirements of the law as far as duly terminating regular employees are concerned. (iamigo/soverignph.com/PNA)