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G.R. No. 82511 March 3, 1992 GLOBE-MACKAY CABLE AND RADIO CORPORATION vs.

NLRC and IMELDA SALAZAR EN BANC ROMERO, J.: FACTS: Imelda L. Salazar was employed as general system analyst at GMCR. Delfin Saldivar, with whom she was allegedly very close, was also employed as manager for technical operations'. When reports that company equipment and spare parts worth thousands of dollars under the custody of Saldivar were missing, GMCR made an investigation of the latter's activities. The report of the company's internal auditor, Mr. Agustin Maramara, indicated that Saldivar had entered into a partnership styled Concave Commercial and Industrial Company with Richard A. Yambao, owner and manager of Elecon Engineering Services (Elecon), a supplier of petitioner often recommended by Saldivar. It also disclosed that Saldivar had taken petitioner's missing Fedders airconditioning unit for his own personal use without authorization and also connived with Yambao to defraud petitioner of its property. The air conditioner was recovered only after petitioner GMCR filed an action for replevin against Saldivar. It likewise appeared in the course of Maramara's investigation that Imelda Salazar violated company regulations by involving herself in transactions conflicting with the company's interests by signing as a witness to the articles of said partnership and that she had full knowledge of the loss and whereabouts of the airconditioner but failed to inform her employer. The company placed Salazar under preventive suspension for one month giving her 30 days within which to, explain her side. But instead of submitting an explanation, she filed a complaint against petitioner for illegal suspension, which she subsequently amended to include illegal dismissal, vacation and sick leave benefits, 13th month pay and damages, after petitioner notified her in writing that she was considered dismissed "in view of inability to refute and disprove the findings. The Labor Arbiter ordered GMCR to reinstate Salazar to her former or equivalent position and to pay her full backwages and other benefits she would have received were it not for the illegal dismissal including payment of moral damages. On appeal, NLRC affirmed the aforesaid decision with respect to the reinstatement but limited the backwages to a period of two (2) years and deleted the award for moral damages. ISSUE: WON the Labor Tribunal committed grave abuse of discretion in holding that the suspension and subsequent dismissal of private respondent were illegal and in ordering her reinstatement with two (2) years' backwages. HELD: PREVENTIVE SUSPENSION WAS LAWFUL. Preventive suspension does not signify that the company has adjudged the employee guilty of the charges she was asked to answer and explain. Such disciplinary measure is resorted to for the protection of the company's property pending investigation any alleged malfeasance or misfeasance committed by the employee. GMCR had not violated Salazar's right to due process when she was promptly suspended. If at all, the fault, lay with private respondent when she ignored petitioner's "giving her ample opportunity to present (her) side to the Management." Instead, she went directly to the Labor Department and filed her complaint for illegal suspension without giving her employer a chance to evaluate her side of the controversy. SEPARATION FROM EMPLOYMENT WAS NOT FOR CAUSE. While loss of confidence or breach of trust is a valid ground for terminations it must rest on some basis which must be convincingly established. An employee should not be dismissed on mere presumptions and suppositions. GMCR "presumed reasonably that complainant's sympathy would be with Saldivar" and its averment that Saldivar's investigation although unverified, was probably true, do not pass this Court's test. While we should not condone the acts of disloyalty of an employee, neither should we dismiss him on the basis of suspicion derived from speculative inferences. The report merely insinuated that in view of Salazar's special relationship with Saldivar, she might have had direct knowledge of Saldivar's questionable activities. Direct evidence implicating private respondent is wanting from the records. Also, the report is onesided since it came out after Saldivar had already resigned and he does not have the opportunity to refute management's findings. Since the main evidence dealt principally on the alleged culpability of Saldivar and without having had a chance to voice his, stringent examination should have been carried out to ascertain if there existed independent legal grounds to hold Salazar answerable as well and, thereby, justify her dismissal. REMEDY IN LAW TO RECTIFY AN UNLAWFUL DISMISSAL

Art. 279 of the Labor Code, as amended, provides: Security of Tenure. In cases of regular employment, the employer shall not terminate the services of an employee except for a just cause or when authorized by this Title. An employee who is unjustly dismissed from work shall be entitled to reinstatement without loss of seniority rights and other privileges and to his full backwages, inclusive of allowances, and to his other benefits or their monetary equivalent computed from the time his compensation was withheld from him up to the time of his actual reinstatement. Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Labor Code: Sec. 2. Security of Tenure. In cases of regular employments, the employer shall not terminate the services of an employee except for a just cause as provided in the Labor Code or when authorized by existing laws. Sec. 3. Reinstatement. An employee who is unjustly dismissed from work shall by entitled to reinstatement without loss of seniority rights and to backwages." There being no evidence to show an authorized, much less a legal, cause for the dismissal of private respondent, she had every right, not only to be entitled to reinstatement, but as well, to full backwages. The intendment of the law in prescribing the twin remedies of reinstatement and payment of backwages is, in the former, to restore the dismissed employee to her status before she lost her job, for the dictionary meaning of the word "reinstate" is "to restore to a state, condition, positions etc. from which one had been removed" and in the latter, to give her back the income lost during the period of unemployment. Both remedies, looking to the past, would perforce make her "whole." Reasons advanced by the Court for denying reinstatement under the facts of the case and the law applicable thereto; that reinstatement can no longer be effected in view of the long passage of time or because of the realities of the situation; or that it would be "inimical to the employer's interest; " or that reinstatement may no longer be feasible; or, that it will not serve the best interests of the parties involved; or that the company would be prejudiced by the workers' continued employment; or that it will not serve any prudent purpose as when supervening facts have transpired which make execution on that score unjust or inequitable or, to an increasing extent, due to the resultant atmosphere of "antipathy and antagonism" or "strained relations" or "irretrievable estrangement" between the employer and the employee. The principle of "strained relations" cannot be applied indiscriminately. Otherwise, reinstatement can never be possible simply because some hostility is invariably engendered between the parties as a result of litigation. That is human nature. No strained relations should arise from a valid and legal act of asserting one's right; otherwise an employee who shall assert his right could be easily separated from the service, by merely paying his separation pay on the pretext that his relationship with his employer had already become strained. It should be proved that the employee concerned occupies a position where he enjoys the trust and confidence of his employer; and that it is likely that if reinstated, an atmosphere of antipathy and antagonism may be generated as to adversely affect the efficiency and productivity of the employee concerned. It has not been proved that the position of private respondent is one that may be characterized as a position of trust and confidence. As a systems analyst, Salazar was very far removed from operations involving the procurement of supplies. Salazar's duties revolved around the development of systems and analysis of designs on a continuing basis. In other words, Salazar did not occupy a position of trust relative to the approval and purchase of supplies and company assets. WHEREFORE, the assailed is hereby AFFIRMED. GMCR is ordered to REINSTATE Salazar and to pay her backwages equivalent to her salary for a period of two (2) years only.

G.R. No. 137863. March 31, 2005 BPI EMPLOYEES UNION AND ZENAIDA UY vs. BPI, CARLOS FRAGANTE, DELFIN SANTOS, ALBERTO JUGO AND/OR OSCAR CONTRERAS CHICO-NAZARIO, J.: Facts: Zenaida V. Uy, former teller of the Escolta Branch of BPI, shouted at her Senior Manager, Delfin D. Santos (Santos). Uy was told to discuss her complaint Carlos B. Fragante, BPIs area head and Assistant Vice President who told her to transfer to the nearby Plaza Cervantes Branch of BPI and report to its operations manager to defuse the tense situation prevailing at the Escolta Branch. Fragante received the report Santos on the shouting incident, together with the written letter-reports of some branch personnel. Fragante ordered Uy to transfer to the Plaza Cervantes Branch but Uy commented that she will not transfer and will await the result of the grievance meeting. BPI Employees Union initiated a grievance proceeding against the BPI Management for the transfer of Uy. Fragante sent Uy a letter to explain within 24 hours why no disciplinary action should be taken against her for insubordination, for not paying heed to the order to transfer. Uy replied that she could not transfer because there was no proper turnover of her accountabilities; that she was not able to do so because she was not allowed to open (as a teller); and, that since then she has been barred from entering the bank premises. A grievance meeting was held but no agreement was reached. Fragante sent Uy another letter asking her to explain why no disciplinary action should be taken against her for uttering disrespectful, discourteous, insulting and unbecoming language to her superior. Uy sent an undated reply reiterating why she could just not leave her position and requested that she be considered on leave. Fragante wrote Uy another letter directing her to show cause why no disciplinary action, including possible termination, should be taken against her for the incident, for insubordination or defiance to the transfer order, and for going on absence without leave. A copy thereof was furnished the Union. Uy sent a reply asking for particulars relative to the alleged highly disrespectful, discourteous, insulting, threatening, and unbecoming language and behavior towards your Manager, Delfin Santos and on the alleged past instances when she was involved with quarrels with your co-employees, and alleging that she felt was being sexually harassed when he uttered You just stay here, there are plenty of men here, and when she answered, I am not fond of men, he retorted, You may just stay here in my room. The union asked for a suspension of the grievance machinery and for investigation of the sexual harassment charge. Uy requested Management through Mr. Oscar L. Cervantes, for transfer to the Taft Avenue Branch to save on gasoline expenses. Two meetings were held between the Union side and the management side, represented by Mr. Fragantes superior, Senior Vice President Alberto Jugo and Senior Manager Efren Tuble. When no agreement was reached, the management advised Uy and the Union as well as their counsel that the management had no choice but to terminate Uy. Both the union and Uy were sent copies of the Notice of Termination on the grounds of gross disrespect/discourtesy towards an officer, insubordination and absence without leave. Uy filed a case for illegal transfer and termination, Labor Arbiter ruled in favor of her. When BPI appealed, the NLRC set aside the Decision for lack of jurisdiction, and ruled that the case falls under the jurisdiction of a Voluntary Arbitrator. The Voluntary Arbitrator adjudged in favor of Uy and ordered BPI to reinstate her and to pay her full backwages computed from the time she was dismissed until she is actually reinstated including all her other benefits which are benefits under their CBA and attorneys fees. Aggrieved, they then filed a Petition for Review before the Court of Appeals which affirmed the finding of the Voluntary Arbitrator. However, the award for backwages was modified by limiting it to three years as well as finding that there was strained relations between the parties. Issue/s: WON the limiting of the award of backwages to three (3) years is contrary to law and jurisprudence. WON there is strained relations between the parties. Held: The three-year-limit doctrine has been consistently and uniformly applied by this Court over many years until the promulgation of Republic Act No. 6715 which amended Article 279 of the Labor Code in 1989. In Osmalik Bustamante, et al. v. NLRC and Evergreen Farms, Inc. We held that the passing of R.A. No. 6715, particularly Section 34, amended Article 279 of the Labor Code, which now states in part: ART. 279. Security of Tenure. - An employee who is unjustly dismissed from work shall be entitled to reinstatement without loss of seniority rights and other privileges and to his full backwages, inclusive of allowances, and to his other benefits or their monetary equivalent computed from the time his compensation was withheld from him up to the time of his actual reinstatement.

Verily, the evident legislative intent as expressed in Rep. Act No. 6715, above-quoted, is that the backwages to be awarded to an illegally dismissed employee, should not, as a general rule, be diminished or reduced by the earnings derived by him elsewhere during the period of his illegal dismissal. The underlying reason for this ruling is that the employee, while litigating the legality (illegality) of his dismissal, must still earn a living to support himself and his family. Corollary thereto, full backwages have to be paid by the employer as part of the price or penalty he has to pay for illegally dismissing his employee. Thus, a closer adherence to the legislative policy behind Rep. Act. No. 6715 points to full backwages as meaning exactly that, i.e., without deducting from backwages the earnings derived elsewhere by the concerned employee during the period of his illegal dismissal. In other words, the provision calling for full backwages to illegally dismissed employees is clear, plain and free from ambiguity and, therefore, must be applied without attempted or strained interpretation. Consequently, in accordance with Section 34, Rep. Act No. 6715, employees illegally dismissed after 21 March 1989 are entitled to their full backwages, inclusive of other benefits or their monetary equivalent, from the time their actual compensation was withheld from them up to the time of their actual reinstatement. In Globe-Mackay Cable and Radio Corp. v. NLRC: Obviously, the principle of strained relations cannot be applied indiscriminately. Otherwise, reinstatement can never be possible simply because some hostility is invariably engendered between the parties as a result of litigation. That is human nature. Besides, no strained relations should arise from a valid and legal act of asserting ones right; otherwise an employee who shall assert his right could be easily separated from the service, by merely paying his separation pay on the pretext that his relationship with his employer had already become strained. In PLDT, et al. v. Tolentino,the ruling in Quijano v. Mercury Drug Corp was reiterated : Well-entrenched is the rule that an illegally dismissed employee is entitled to reinstatement as a matter of right. Over the years, however, the case law developed that where reinstatement is not feasible, expedient or practical, as where reinstatement would only exacerbate the tension and strained relations between the parties, or where the relationship between the employer and employee has been unduly strained by reason of their irreconcilable differences, particularly where the illegally dismissed employee held a managerial or key position in the company, it would be more prudent to order payment of separation pay instead of reinstatement. Some unscrupulous employers, however, have taken advantage of the overgrowth of this doctrine of strained relations by using it as a cover to get rid of its employees and thus defeat their right to job security. To protect labors security of tenure, we emphasize that the doctrine of strained relations should be strictly applied so as not to deprive an illegally dismissed employee of his right to reinstatement. Every labor dispute almost always results in strained relations and the phrase cannot be given an overarching interpretation, otherwise, an unjustly dismissed employee can never be reinstated. It has been almost a decade since the incident that led to the dismissal of Uy occurred. Carlos Fragante has long been assigned in another area and Messrs. Alberto Jugo and Oscar Contreras are no longer connected with BPI. It now appears that theres no more basis for strained relations between the present management and petitioner Uy, reinstatement is possible. WHEREFORE, the instant petition is GRANTED. 1) BPI is DIRECTED to pay petitioner Uy backwages from the time of her illegal dismissal until her actual reinstatement; and 2) BPI is ORDERED to reinstate petitioner Uy to her former position, or to a substantially equivalent one, without loss of seniority right and other benefits attendant to the position.