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EMPLOYER RECOGNITION

Pangilinan v General Milling Corp


434 SCRA 159 (July 12, 2004)

Facts: The respondent General Milling Corporation is a domestic corporation engaged in the production and sale of
livestock and poultry.It is, likewise, the distributor of dressed chicken to various restaurants and establishments
nationwide. As such, it employs hundreds of employees, some on a regular basis and others on a casual basis, as
emergency workers.

The petitioners were employed by the respondent on different dates as emergency workers at its poultry plant in
Cainta, Rizal, under separate temporary/casual contracts of employment for a period of five months. Most of them
worked as chicken dressers, while the others served as packers or helpers. Upon the expiration of their respective
contracts, their services were terminated. They later filed separate complaints for illegal dismissal and non-
payment of holiday pay, 13th month pay, night-shift differential and service incentive leave pay against the
respondent before the Arbitration Branch of the National Labor Relations Commission

The petitioners alleged that their work as chicken dressers was necessary and desirable in the usual business of the
respondent, and added that although they worked from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m., they were not paid night-shift
differential. They stressed that based on the nature of their work, they were regular employees of the respondent;
hence, could not be dismissed from their employment unless for just cause and after due notice. In support
thereof, the petitioners cited the decision of the Honorable Labor Arbiter Perlita B. Velasco in NLRC Case No. NCR-
6-2168-86, entitled Estelita Jayme, et al. vs. General Milling Corporation; and NLRC Case No. NCR-9-3726-86,
entitled Marilou Carino, et al. vs. General Milling Corporation. They asserted that the respondent GMC terminated
their contract of employment without just cause and due notice. They further argued that the respondent could
not rely on the nomenclature of their employment as temporary or casual.

On August 18, 1997, Labor Arbiter (LA) Voltaire A. Balitaan rendered a decision in favor of the petitioners declaring
that they were regular employees. Finding that the termination of their employment was not based on any of the
just causes provided for in the Labor Code, the LA declared that they were allegedly illegally dismissed. The
decretal portion of the decision reads:

WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in these cases, as follows:

1. Declaring respondent corporation guilty of illegally dismissing complainants, except Rosalina Basan and
Filomena Lanting whose complaints are hereby dismissed on ground of prescription, and as a consequence
therefor ordering the said respondent corporation to reinstate them to their former positions without loss of
seniority rights and other privileges and with full backwages from the time they were illegally dismissed in the
aggregate amount of P15,328,594.04;

2. Ordering respondent corporation to pay the said complainants their 13th month pay, holiday pay and
service incentive leave pay in the aggregate amount of P1,979,148.23;

3. Ordering respondent corporation to pay said complainants the amount of P1,730,744.22 by way of
attorneys fees, representing ten (10%) percentum of the total judgment awards.

The case against individual respondent Medardo Quiambao is hereby dismissed.


Issue: Whether or not respondents are regular employees of GMC?
Ruling:
No, the petitioners were employees with a fixed period, and, as such, were not regular employees.

Article 280 of the Labor Code comprehends three kinds of employees: (a) regular employees or those whose work is
necessary or desirable to the usual business of the employer; (b) project employees or those whose employment has
been fixed for a specific project or undertaking the completion or termination of which has been determined at the
time of the engagement of the employee or where the work or services to be performed is seasonal in nature and the
employment is for the duration of the season; and, (c) casual employees or those who are neither regular nor project
employee.

A regular employee is one who is engaged to perform activities which are necessary and desirable in the
usual business or trade of the employer as against those which are undertaken for a specific project or are seasonal.
There are two separate instances whereby it can be determined that an employment is regular: (1) if the particular
activity performed by the employee is necessary or desirable in the usual business or trade of the employer; and, (2)
if the employee has been performing the job for at least a year.

In the case of St. Theresas School of Novaliches Foundation vs. NLRC,[43] we held that Article 280 of the
Labor Code does not proscribe or prohibit an employment contract with a fixed period. We furthered that it does not
necessarily follow that where the duties of the employee consist of activities usually necessary or desirable in the
usual business of the employer, the parties are forbidden from agreeing on a period of time for the performance of
such activities. There is thus nothing essentially contradictory between a definite period of employment and the
nature of the employees duties.

Indeed, in the leading case of Brent School Inc. v. Zamora, we laid down the guideline before a contract of
employment may be held as valid, to wit:

[S]tipulations in employment contracts providing for term employment or fixed


period employment are valid when the period were agreed upon knowingly and voluntarily
by the parties without force, duress or improper pressure, being brought to bear upon the
employee and absent any other circumstances vitiating his consent, or where it satisfactorily
appears that the employer and employee dealt with each other on more or less equal terms
with no moral dominance whatever being exercised by the former over the latter.

An examination of the contracts entered into by the petitioners showed that their employment was limited
to a fixed period, usually five or six months, and did not go beyond such period.

The records reveal that the stipulations in the employment contracts were knowingly and voluntarily agreed
to by the petitioners without force, duress or improper pressure, or any circumstances that vitiated their
consent. Similarly, nothing therein shows that these contracts were used as a subterfuge by the respondent GMC to
evade the provisions of Articles 279 and 280 of the Labor Code.

The petitioners were hired as emergency workers and assigned as chicken dressers, packers and helpers at
the Cainta Processing Plant. The respondent GMC is a domestic corporation engaged in the production and sale of
livestock and poultry, and is a distributor of dressed chicken. While the petitioners employment as chicken dressers
is necessary and desirable in the usual business of the respondent, they were employed on a mere temporary
basis, since their employment was limited to a fixed period. As such, they cannot be said to be regular employees,
but are merely contractual employees. Consequently, there was no illegal dismissal when the petitioners services
were terminated by reason of the expiration of their contracts. [47] Lack of notice of termination is of no consequence,
because when the contract specifies the period of its duration, it terminates on the expiration of such period. A
contract for employment for a definite period terminates by its own term at the end of such period. [48]

In sum, we rule that the appeal was filed within the ten (10)-day reglementary period. Although the
petitioners who mainly worked as chicken dressers performed work necessary and desirable in the usual business of
the respondent, they were not regular employees therein. Consequently, the termination of their employment upon
the expiry of their respective contracts was valid.
EMPLOYER DETERMINATION/ DESIGNATION
G.R. No. 70705 August 21, 1989

MOISES DE LEON, petitioner,


vs.
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION and LA TONDEÑA INC., respondents

Facts:
Moises de Leon petitioner was employed by private respondent La Tondeñ;a Inc. on December 11, 1981, at the
Maintenance Section of its Engineering Department in Tondo, Manila. 1 His work consisted mainly of painting
company building and equipment, and other odd jobs relating to maintenance. He was paid on a daily basis
through petty cash vouchers.

In the early part of January, 1983, after a service of more than one (1) year, petitioner requested from respondent
company that he be included in the payroll of regular workers, instead of being paid through petty cash vouchers.
Private respondent's response to this request was to dismiss petitioner from his employment on January 16, 1983.
Having been refused reinstatement despite repeated demands, petitioner filed a complaint for illegal dismissal,
reinstatement and payment of backwages before the Office of the Labor Arbiter of the then Ministry now
Department of Labor and Employment.

Petitioner alleged that he was dismissed following his request to be treated as a regular employee; that his work
consisted of painting company buildings and maintenance chores like cleaning and operating company equipment,
assisting Emiliano Tanque Jr., a regular maintenance man; and that weeks after his dismissal, he was re-hired by
the respondent company indirectly through the Vitas-Magsaysay Village Livelihood Council, a labor agency of
respondent company, and was made to perform the tasks which he used to do. Emiliano Tanque Jr. corroborated
these averments of petitioner in his affidavit. 2

On the other hand, private respondent claimed that petitioner was not a regular employee but only a casual
worker hired allegedly only to paint a certain building in the company premises, and that his work as a painter
terminated upon the completion of the painting job.

On April 6, 1984, Labor Arbiter Bienvenido S. Hernandez rendered a decision 3 finding the complaint meritorious
and the dismissal illegal; and ordering the respondent company to reinstate petitioner with full backwages and
other benefits. Labor Arbiter Hernandez ruled that petitioner was not a mere casual employee as asserted by
private respondent but a regular employee. He concluded that the dismissal of petitioner from the service was
prompted by his request to be included in the list of regular employees and to be paid through the payroll and is,
therefore, an attempt to circumvent the legal obligations of an employer towards a regular employee.

Labor Arbiter Hernandez found as follows:

After a thorough examination of the records of the case and evaluation of the evidence and versions of the parties,
this Office finds and so holds that the dismissal of complainant is illegal. Despite the impressive attempt of
respondents to show that the complainant was hired as casual and for the work on particular project, that is the
repainting of Mama Rosa Building, which particular work of painting and repainting is not pursuant to the regular
business of the company, according to its theory, we find differently. Complainant's being hired on casual basis did
not dissuade from the cold fact that such painting of the building and the painting and repainting of the equipment
and tools and other things belonging to the company and the odd jobs assigned to him to be performed when he
had no painting and repainting works related to maintenance as a maintenance man are necessary and desirable
to the better operation of the business company. Respondent did not even attempt to deny and refute the
corroborating statements of Emiliano Tanque Jr., who was regularly employed by it as a maintenance man doing
same jobs not only of painting and repainting of building, equipment and tools and machineries or machines if the
company but also other odd jobs in the Engineering and Maintenance Department that complainant Moises de
Leon did perform the same odd jobs and assignments as were assigned to him during the period de Leon was
employed for more than one year continuously by Id respondent company. We find no reason not to give credit
and weight to the affidavit and statement made therein by Emiliano Tanque Jr. This strongly confirms that
complainant did the work pertaining to the regular business in which the company had been organized.
Respondent cannot be permitted to circumvent the law on security of tenure by considering complainant as a
casual worker on daily rate basis and after working for a period that has entitled him to be regularized that he
would be automatically terminated. ... .
Issue: Whether or not de Leon is a regular employee of La Tzondena Inc.

Ruling:
Yes, de Leon is a regular employee.
The law on the matter is Article 281 of the Labor Code which defines regular and casual employment as follows:

Art. 281. Regular and casual employment. The provisions of a written agreement to the contrary notwithstanding
and regardless of the oral agreements of the parties, an employment shall be deemed to be regular where the
employee has been engaged to perform activities which are usually necessary or desirable in the usual business or
trade of the employer, except where the employment has been fixed for a specific project or undertaking the
completion or termination of which has been determined at the time of the engagement of the employee or
where the work or services to be performed is seasonal in nature and the employment is for the duration of the
season.

An employment shall be deemed to be casual if it is not covered by the preceding paragraph: Provided, That any
employee who has rendered at least one year of service, whether such service is continuous or broken, shall be
considered a regular employee with respect to the activity in which he is employed and his employment shall
continue while such actually exists.

This provision reinforces the Constitutional mandate to protect the interest of labor. Its language evidently
manifests the intent to safeguard the tenurial interest of the worker who may be denied the rights and benefits
due a regular employee by virtue of lopsided agreements with the economically powerful employer who can
maneuver to keep an employee on a casual status for as long as convenient. Thus, contrary agreements
notwithstanding, an employment is deemed regular when the activities performed by the employee are usually
necessary or desirable in the usual business or trade of the employer. Not considered regular are the so-called
"project employment" the completion or termination of which is more or less determinable at the time of
employment, such as those employed in connection with a particular construction project 9 and seasonal
employment which by its nature is only desirable for a limited period of time. However, any employee who has
rendered at least one year of service, whether continuous or intermittent, is deemed regular with respect to the
activity he performed and while such activity actually exists.

The primary standard, therefore, of determining a regular employment is the reasonable connection between the
particular activity performed by the employee in relation to the usual business or trade of the employer. The test is
whether the former is usually necessary or desirable in the usual business or trade of the employer. The
connection can be determined by considering the nature of the work performed and its relation to the scheme of
the particular business or trade in its entirety. Also, if the employee has been performing the job for at least one
year, even if the performance is not continuous or merely intermittent, the law deems the repeated and
continuing need for its performance as sufficient evidence of the necessity if not indispensability of that activity to
the business. Hence, the employment is also considered regular, but only with respect to such activity and while
such activity exists.

In the case at bar, the respondent company, which is engaged in the business of manufacture and distillery of
wines and liquors, claims that petitioner was contracted on a casual basis specifically to paint a certain company
building and that its completion rendered petitioner's employment terminated. This may have been true at the
beginning, and had it been shown that petitioner's activity was exclusively limited to painting that certain building,
respondent company's theory of casual employment would have been worthy of consideration.
However, during petitioner's period of employment, the records reveal that the tasks assigned to him included not
only painting of company buildings, equipment and tools but also cleaning and oiling machines, even operating a
drilling machine, and other odd jobs assigned to him when he had no painting job. A regular employee of
respondent company, Emiliano Tanque Jr., attested in his affidavit that petitioner worked with him as a
maintenance man when there was no painting job.

It is noteworthy that, as wisely observed by the Labor Arbiter, the respondent company did not even attempt to
negate the above averments of petitioner and his co- employee. Indeed, the respondent company did not only fail
to dispute this vital point, it even went further and confirmed its veracity when it expressly admitted in its
comment that, "The main bulk of work and/or activities assigned to petitioner was painting and other related
activities. Occasionally, he was instructed to do other odd things in connection with maintenance while he was
waiting for materials he would need in his job or when he had finished early one assigned to him. 10

The respondent Commission, in reversing the findings of the Labor Arbiter reasoned that petitioner's job cannot be
considered as necessary or desirable in the usual business or trade of the employer because, "Painting the
business or factory building is not a part of the respondent's manufacturing or distilling process of wines and
liquors. 11

The fallacy of the reasoning is readily apparent in view of the admitted fact that petitioner's activities included not
only painting but other maintenance work as well, a fact which even the respondent Commission, like the private
respondent, also expressly recognized when it stated in its decision that, 'Although complainant's (petitioner) work
was mainly painting, he was occasionally asked to do other odd jobs in connection with maintenance work. 12 It
misleadingly assumed that all the petitioner did during his more than one year of employment was to paint a
certain building of the respondent company, whereas it is admitted that he was given other assignments relating
to maintenance work besides painting company building and equipment.

It is self-serving, to say the least, to isolate petitioner's painting job to justify the proposition of casual employment
and conveniently disregard the other maintenance activities of petitioner which were assigned by the respondent
company when he was not painting. The law demands that the nature and entirety of the activities performed by
the employee be considered. In the case of petitioner, the painting and maintenance work given him manifest a
treatment consistent with a maintenance man and not just a painter, for if his job was truly only to paint a building
there would have been no basis for giving him other work assignments In between painting activities.

It is not tenable to argue that the painting and maintenance work of petitioner are not necessary in respondent's
business of manufacturing liquors and wines, just as it cannot be said that only those who are directly involved in
the process of producing wines and liquors may be considered as necessary employees. Otherwise, there would
have been no need for the regular Maintenance Section of respondent company's Engineering Department,
manned by regular employees like Emiliano Tanque Jr., whom petitioner often worked with.

Furthermore, the petitioner performed his work of painting and maintenance activities during his employment in
respondent's business which lasted for more than one year, until early January, 1983 when he demanded to be
regularized and was subsequently dismissed. Certainly, by this fact alone he is entitled by law to be considered a
regular employee. And considering further that weeks after his dismissal, petitioner was rehired by the company
through a labor agency and was returned to his post in the Maintenance Section and made to perform the same
activities that he used to do, it cannot be denied that as activities as a regular painter and maintenance man still
exist.

It is of no moment that petitioner was told when he was hired that his employment would only be casual, that he
was paid through cash vouchers, and that he did not comply with regular employment procedure. Precisely, the
law overrides such conditions which are prejudicial to the interest of the worker whose weak bargaining position
needs the support of the State. That determines whether a certain employment is regular or casual is not the will
and word of the employer, to which the desperate worker often accedes, much less the procedure of hiring the
employee or the manner of paying his salary. It is the nature of the activities performed in relation to the particular
business or trade considering all circumstances, and in some cases the length of time of its performance and its
continued existence.

Finally, considering its task to give life and spirit to the Constitutional mandate for the protection of labor, to
enforce and uphold our labor laws which must be interpreted liberally in favor of the worker in case of doubt, the
Court cannot understand the failure of the respondent Commission to perceive the obvious attempt on the part of
the respondent company to evade its obligations to petitioner by dismissing the latter days after he asked to be
treated as a regular worker on the flimsy pretext that his painting work was suddenly finished only to rehire him
indirectly weeks after his dismissal and assign him to perform the same tasks he used to perform. The devious
dismissal is too obvious to escape notice. The inexplicable disregard of established and decisive facts which the
Commission itself admitted to be so, in justifying a conclusion adverse to the aggrieved laborer clearly spells a
grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction.

Private respondent is ordered to reinstate petitioner as a regular maintenance man and to pay petitioner 1)
backwages equivalent to three years from January 16,1983, in accordance with the Aluminum Wage Orders in
effect for the period covered, 2) ECOLA 3) 13th Month Pay, 4) and other benefits under pertinent Collective
Bargaining Agreements, if any.

EMPLOYER DETERMINATION/ DESIGNATION


[G.R. No. 119523. October 10, 1997]
ISABELO VIOLETA and JOVITO BALTAZAR, petitioners, vs. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, Fifth
Division, and DASMARINAS INDUSTRIAL AND STEELWORKS CORPORATIONS, respondents.

Facts:
Petitioners Isabelo Violeta and Jovito Baltazar were former employees of private respondent Dasmarias Industrial
and Steelworks Corporation (DISC). Their records of service and employment, insofar as the same are material to
this case, are not in dispute.

Petitioner Violeta worked in Construction and Development Corporation of the Philippines (CDCP), a sister
corporation of private respondent, at its project in CDCP Mines, Basay, Negros Oriental from December 15, 1980
up to February 15, 1981. Private respondent then hired him as Erector II at the formers project for Philphos in
Isabel, Leyte on November 10, 1982 until the termination of the project on December 3, 1984. On January 21,
1985, he was reassigned as Erector II for Five Stand TCM Project, with vacation and sick leaves, and was designated
as a regular project employee at private respondents project for National Steel Corporation (NSC) in Iligan City.
After receiving a salary adjustment, he was again hired on June 6, 1989 as Handyman for the civil works of a
construction project for NSC. On February 10, 1992, he was appointed for project employment, again as
Handyman, to NSC ETL #3 Civil Works by private respondent. Due to the completion of the particular item of work
he was assigned to, private respondent terminated the services of petitioner Violeta on March 15, 1992.
Petitioner Baltazar started in the employ of CDCP on June 23, 1980. He was hired by private respondent as Lead
Carpenter for project Agua VII on October 1, 1981. Like petitioner Violeta, he was transferred from one project to
another as a regular project employee. On November 28, 1991, he was hired as Leadman II in ETL #3 Civil Works by
private respondent in its project for NSC, but he was separated from such employment on December 20, 1991 as a
result of the completion of said item of work.
Upon their separation, petitioners executed a quitclaim wherein they declared that they have no claim against
private respondent and supposedly discharged private respondent from any liability arising from their
employment.
Contending that they are already regular employees who cannot be dismissed on the ground of completion of the
particular project where they are engaged, petitioners filed two separate complaints for illegal dismissal against
private respondent, with a prayer for reinstatement and back wages plus damages.
Private respondent admitted that it is engaged in the development and construction of infrastructure projects and
maintained that Violeta was hired on June 6, 1989 to March 15, 1992 as Handyman while Baltazar was employed
on June 6, 1989 to December 20, 1991 as Leadman II. It argued that both are project employees based on their
declaration in their Appointments for Project Employment that they are employed only for the period and specific
works stated in their respective appointments, in addition to their admission that they are project employees who
are subject to the provisions of Policy Instruction No. 20.
Labor Arbiter Guardson A. Siao dismissed the claims of petitioners for lack of merit but ordered private respondent
to grant them separation pay. The labor arbiter concluded that petitioners are project employees based on their
admission that they are regular project employees. Thus, their employment was deemed coterminous with the
project for which their employer engaged them. Their separation was declared valid and their claims for
reinstatement and back wages were denied. The award of separation pay was based on the findings of the labor
arbiter that it is the policy of private respondent to pay employees who have rendered at least one year of
continuous service.
Issue: Whether or not Violeta is a regular employee of Dasmarinas Industrial and Steel…
Ruling: Yes,
The source of the definition of a regular employee vis--vis a project employee is found in Article 280 of the Labor
Code which provides:
Art. 280. Regular and casual employment. - The provisions of written agreement to the contrary notwithstanding
and regardless of the oral agreement of the parties, an employment shall be deemed to be regular where the
employee has been engaged to perform activities which are usually necessary or desirable in the usual business or
trade of the employer, except where the employment has been fixed for a specific project or undertaking the
completion or termination of which has been determined at the time of the engagement of the employee or
where the work or service to be performed is seasonal in nature and the employment is for the duration of the
season.
An employee shall be deemed to be casual if it is not covered by the preceding paragraph: Provided, That any
employee who has rendered at least one year of service, whether such service is continuous or broken, shall be
considered a regular employee with respect to the activity in which he is employed and his employment shall
continue while such activity exists. (Emphases ours).
Article 280 was emplaced in our statute books to prevent the circumvention of the employees right to be secure in
his tenure by indiscriminately and completely ruling out all written and oral agreements inconsistent with the
concept of regular employment defined therein. Where an employee has been engaged to perform activities
which are usually necessary or desirable in the usual business of the employer, such employee is deemed a regular
employee and is entitled to security of tenure notwithstanding the contrary provisions of his contract of
employment.
The principal test for determining whether particular employees are properly characterized as project employees,
as distinguished from regular employees, is whether or not the project employees were assigned to carry out a
specific project or undertaking, the duration (and scope) of which were specified at the time the employees were
engaged for that project. As defined, project employees are those workers hired (1) for a specific project or
undertaking, and (2) the completion or termination of such project or undertaking has been determined at the
time of engagement of the employee

As Handyman and Erector II, respectively, petitioners services are both necessary and vital to the operation of the
business of private respondent. This is not at all traversed, but is even confirmed by the fact that they were
continually and successively assigned to the different projects of private respondent and its sister company, CDCP.

Following the rule on precedents, we once again hold that the respective employments of the present petitioners
is not subject to a term but rather to a condition, that is, progress accomplishment. As we have stated in De Jesus,
it cannot be said that their employment had been pre-determined because, firstly, the duration of their work is
contingent upon the progress accomplishment and, secondly, the contract gives private respondent the liberty to
determine the personnel and the number as the work progresses. It is ineluctably not definite so as to exempt
private respondent from the strictures and effects of Article 280.
To add our own observation, the appointments of petitioners herein were not coterminous with NSC ETL #3 Civil
Works but with the need for such particular items of work as were assigned to them, as distinguished from the
completion of the project.
With such ambiguous and obscure words and conditions, petitioners employment was not co-existent with the
duration of their particular work assignments because their employer could, at any stage of such work, determine
whether their services were needed or not. Their services could then be terminated even before the completion of
the phase of work assigned to them.
We find this explication necessary and in accord with the principle that in controversies between a laborer and his
master, doubts reasonably arising from the evidence, or in the interpretation of agreements and writings should
be resolved in the formers favor.[18]
To be exempted from the presumption of regularity of employment, therefore, the agreement between a project
employee and his employer must strictly conform with the requirements and conditions provided in Article 280. It
is not enough that an employee is hired for a specific project or phase of work. There must also be a determination
of or a clear agreement on the completion or termination of the project at the time the employee is engaged if the
objective of Article 280 is to be achieved. Since this second requirement was not met in petitioners case, they
should be considered as regular employees despite their admissions and declarations that they are project
employees made under circumstances unclear to us.
Parenthetically, it is relevant to observe that the similarities in the stipulations of the employment/appointment
contracts can be explained by the indirect relationship of the Philippine National Construction Corporation (PNCC)
and private respondent. CDCP was the predecessor of PNCC which, in turn, is an existing sister company of private
respondent. Apparently, private respondent ignored the mistake committed by its said sister company. Also, if only
the NLRC had thoroughly read the De Jesus decision, it would have discovered that the PNCC also raised as a
defense the admission of therein petitioner De Jesus that he was a project employee, but to no avail.
There is another reason why we should rule in favor of petitioners. Nowhere in the records is there any showing
that private respondent reported the completion of its projects and the dismissal of petitioners in its finished
projects to the nearest Public Employment Office in compliance with Policy Instruction No. 20 of then Labor
Secretary Blas F. Ople.
Jurisprudence abounds with the consistent rule that the failure of an employer to report to the nearest Public
Employment Office the termination of its workers services every time a project or a phase thereof is completed
indicates that said workers are not project employees.[19] In the case at bar, only the last and final termination of
petitioners was reported to the aforementioned labor office.
Private respondent should have filed as many reports of termination as there were construction projects actually
finished if petitioners were indeed project employees, considering that petitioners were hired and again rehired
for various projects or the phases of work therein. Its failure to submit reports of termination cannot but
sufficiently convince us further that petitioners are truly regular employees. Just as important, the fact that
petitioners had rendered more than one year of service at the time of their dismissal overturns private
respondents allegations that petitioners were hired for a specific or a fixed undertaking for a limited period of
time.[20]
Even if we disregard the stints of petitioners with CDCP, it cannot be disclaimed that they have rendered long years
of service in private respondents business affairs. Beginning his service in 1982, petitioner Violeta served in the
employ of private respondent up to 1992. In the case of petitioner Baltazar, he worked for private respondent
from 1981 to 1991. Private respondent repeatedly appointed petitioners to new projects after the completion of
every project or item of work in which they were previously employed, each over a span of about 10 years.
Public respondent contends that the gaps in the employment of petitioners, consisting of the periods in between
the completion of one project and the engagement of petitioners in the next, show that they could not have been
regular employees under the control of private respondent, and that petitioners could have applied for or
accepted employment from other employers during those periods. This is puerile and speculative.
In the first place, Article 280 of the Labor Code contemplates both continuous and broken services. In the second
place, there is absolutely no evidence of petitioners having applied for or accepted such other or outside
employment during the brief interregna in the continuity of their work with private respondent. Their undertaking
in the Employment Terms and Conditions of their service to private respondent bound them to work in such place
of work or project as DISC may assign or transfer them, with the further agreement that they would so work during
rest day, holidays, night time and night shift or during emergencies.[21]
These are self-evident refutations of private respondents theory and further bolster petitioners position that they
were not mere employees engaged for a single or particular project.They were thus removed from the scope of
project employment and considered as regular employees since their employment as so-called project employees
was extended long after the termination of different projects.[22]
The fact that petitioners signed quitclaims will not bar them from pursuing their claims against private respondent
because quitclaims executed by laborers are frowned upon as contrary to public policy, and are ineffective to bar
claims for the full measure of the workers legal rights.[23] The so-called quitclaims signed by petitioners were
actually pro forma provisions printed in the clearance certificate they had to get from private respondent. These
were not in the nature of a compromise but a compulsory general release required from them, for which no
consideration was either given or even stated.

EMPLOYER DETERMINATION/ DESIGNATION


[G.R. No. 125606. October 7, 1998]
SAN MIGUEL CORPORATION, petitioner, vs. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, THIRD DIVISION, and
FRANCISCO DE GUZMAN, JR., respondents.

Facts:
The facts on record show that in November 1990, private respondent was hired by petitioner as helper/bricklayer
for a specific project, the repair and upgrading of furnace C at its Manila Glass Plant. His contract of employment
provided that said temporary employment was for a specific period of approximately four (4) months.
On April 30, 1991, private respondent was able to complete the repair and upgrading of furnace C. Thus, his
services were terminated on that same day as there was no more work to be done. His employment contract also
ended that day.
On May 10, 1991, private respondent was again hired for a specific job or undertaking, which involved the
draining/cooling down of furnace F and the emergency repair of furnace E. This project was for a specific period of
approximately three (3) months.
After the completion of this task, namely the draining/cooling down of furnace F and the emergency repair of
furnace E, at the end of July 1991, private respondents services were terminated.
On August 1, 1991, complainant saw his name in a Memorandum posted at the Companys Bulletin Board as among
those who were considered dismissed.
On August 12, 1994, or after the lapse of more than three (3) years from the completion of the last undertaking for
which private respondent was hired, private respondent filed a complaint for illegal dismissal against petitioner,
docketed as NLRC NCR Case No. 08-05954-94.[7]
Both parties submitted their respective position papers, reply and rejoinder to Labor Arbiter Felipe Garduque II. On
June 30, 1995, he rendered the decision dismissing said complaint for lack of merit. In his ruling Labor Arbiter
Garduque sustained petitioners argument that private respondent was a project employee. The position of a
helper does not fall within the classification of regular employees. Hence, complainant never attained regular
employment status. Moreover, his silence for more than three (3) years without any reasonable explanation
tended to weaken his claim.[8]
Issue: Whether or not de Guzman is a regular employee of San Miguel Corp.?
Ruling:
No, Art. 280 of the Labor Code defines regular, project and casual employment as follows:
ART. 280. Regular and Casual Employment. The provisions of written agreement to the contrary notwithstanding
and regardless of the oral agreement of the parties, an employment shall be deemed to be regular where the
employee has been engaged to perform activities which are usually necessary or desirable in the usual business or
trade of the employer, except where the employment has been fixed for a specific project or undertaking the
completion or termination of which has been determined at the time of the engagement of the employee or
where the work or services to be performed is seasonal in nature and the employment is for the duration of the
season.
An employment shall be deemed to be casual if it is not covered by the preceding paragraph: Provided, That, any
employee who has rendered at least one year of service, whether such service is continuous or broken, shall be
considered a regular employee with respect to the activity in which he is employed and his employment shall
continue while such actually exists.
The above mentioned provision reinforces the Constitutional mandate to protect the interest of labor as it sets the
legal framework for ascertaining ones nature of employment, and distinguishing different kinds of employees. Its
language manifests the intent to safeguard the tenurial interest of worker who may be denied the enjoyment of
the rights and benefits due to an employee, regardless of the nature of his employment, by virtue of lopsided
agreements with the economically powerful employer who can maneuver to keep an employee on a casual or
contractual status for as long as it is convenient to the employer.
Thus, under Article 280 of the Labor Code, an employment is deemed regular when the activities performed by the
employee are usually necessary or desirable in the usual business or trade of the employer even if the parties
enter into an agreement stating otherwise. But considered not regular under said Article are (1) the so-called
project employment the termination of which is more or less determinable at the time of employment, such as
those connected with a particular construction project; and (2) seasonal employment, which by its nature is only
for one season of the year and the employment is limited for the duration of that season, such as the Christmas
holiday season. Nevertheless, an exception to this exception is made: any employee who has rendered at least one
(1) year of service, whether continuous or intermittent, with respect to the activity he performed and while such
activity actually exists, must be deemed regular.
Following Article 280, whether one is employed as a project employee or not would depend on whether he was
hired to carry out a specific project or undertaking, the duration and scope of which were specified at the time his
services were engaged for that particular project.[11] Another factor that may be considered is the reasonable
connection between the particular activity undertaken by the employee in relation to the usual trade or business
of the employer; if without specifying the duration and scope, the work to be undertaken is usually necessary or
desirable in the usual business or trade of the employer, then it is regular employment and not just project much
less casual employment.
Thus, the nature of ones employment does not depend on the will or word of the employer. Nor on the procedure
of hiring and the manner of designating the employee, but on the nature of the activities to be performed by the
employee, considering the employers nature of business[12] and the duration and scope of the work to be done.
Note that the plant where private respondent was employed for only seven months is engaged in the manufacture
of glass, an integral component of the packaging and manufacturing business of petitioner. The process of
manufacturing glass requires a furnace, which has a limited operating life. Petitioner resorted to hiring project or
fixed term employees in having said furnaces repaired since said activity is not regularly performed. Said furnaces
are to be repaired or overhauled only in case of need and after being used continuously for a varying period of five
(5) to ten (10) years.
In 1990, one of the furnaces of petitioner required repair and upgrading. This was an undertaking distinct and
separate from petitioners business of manufacturing glass. For this purpose, petitioner must hire workers to
undertake the said repair and upgrading. Private respondent was, thus, hired by petitioner on November 28, 1990
on a temporary status for a specific job for a determined period of approximately four months.
Upon completion of the undertaking, or on April 30, 1991, private respondents services were terminated. A few
days, thereafter, two of petitioners furnaces required draining/cooling down and emergency repair. Private
respondent was again hired on May 10, 1991 to help in the new undertaking, which would take approximately
three (3) months to accomplish. Upon completion of the second undertaking, private respondents services were
likewise terminated.[14] He was not hired a third time, and his two engagements taken together did not total one
full year in order to qualify him as an exception to the exception falling under the cited proviso in the second
paragraph of Art. 280 of the Labor Code.
Clearly, private respondent was hired for a specific project that was not within the regular business of the
corporation. For petitioner is not engaged in the business of repairing furnaces.Although the activity was necessary
to enable petitioner to continue manufacturing glass, the necessity therefor arose only when a particular furnace
reached the end of its life or operating cycle. Or, as in the second undertaking, when a particular furnace required
an emergency repair. In other words, the undertakings where private respondent was hired primarily as
helper/bricklayer have specified goals and purposes which are fulfilled once the designated work was completed.
Moreover, such undertakings were also identifiably separate and distinct from the usual, ordinary or regular
business operations of petitioner, which is glass manufacturing. These undertakings, the duration and scope of
which had been determined and made known to private respondent at the time of his employment, clearly
indicated the nature of his employment as a project employee. Thus, his services were terminated legally after the
completion of the project.[15]
Public respondent NLRCs decision, if upheld, would amount to negating the distinctions made in Article 280 of the
Labor Code. It would shunt aside the rule that since a project employees work depends on the availability of a
project, necessarily, the duration of his employment is coterminous with the project to which he is assigned.[16] It
would become a burden for an employer to retain an employee and pay him his corresponding wages if there was
no project for him to work on. Well to remember is the language of the Court in the case of Mamansag v.
NLRC:[17]
While the Constitution is committed to the policy of social justice and the protection of the working class, it should
not be supposed that every dispute will be automatically decided in favor of labor. Management has also rights,
which, as such, are entitled to respect and enforcement in the interest of fair play. Although the Supreme Court
has inclined more often than not toward the worker and has upheld his cause in his conflicts with the employer,
such favoritism has not blinded the Court to the rule that justice is in every case for the deserving, to be dispensed
in the light of the established facts and the applicable law and doctrine.
Considering that private respondent was a project employee whose employment, the nature of which he was fully
informed, related to a specific project, work or undertaking, we find that the Labor Arbiter correctly ruled that said
employment legally ended upon completion of said project. Hence the termination of his employment was not
tantamount to an illegal dismissal; and it was a grave abuse of discretion on public respondent's part to order his
reinstatement by petitioner.

MANAGEMENT PREROGATIVE

[G.R. No. 114129. October 24, 1996]


MANILA ELECTRIC COMPANY, petitioner, vs. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSIONS and JEREMIAS G.
CORTEZ, respondents

Facts:
Private respondent Jeremias C. Cortez, Jr. was employed on probationary status by petitioner Manila Electric
Company (Meralco) on September 15, 1975 as a lineman driver. Six months later, he was regularized as a 3rd class
lineman-driver assigned at petitioners North Distribution Division. In 1977, and until the time of his dismissal, he
worked as 1st class lineman-driver whose duties and responsibilities among others, includes the maintenance of
Meralcos distribution facilities (electric lines) by responding to customers complaints of power failure,
interruptions, line trippings and other line troubles.
Characteristics, however, of private respondents service with petitioner is his perennial suspension from work, viz:
Date of Memorandum Penalty Meted/Description
a. May 25, 1977 - Suspension of five (5) working days without pay for violation of Company Code on Employee
Discipline, i.e., drinking of alcoholic beverages during working time xxx.
b. March 28, 1984 - Suspension of three (3) working days without pay for failure or refusal to report to J.F.
cotton Hospital [where petitioner maintains a medical clinic] as instructed by a company physician, while on sick
leave.
C. June 13, 1984 - Suspension of ten (10) working days without pay for unauthorized extension of sick leave.
d. June 5, 1987 - Suspension of three (3) working days without pay for failure or refusal to report to J.F. Cotton
Hospital [where petitioner maintains a medical clinic] as instructed by a company physician, while on sick leave.

[Private respondents failed to report for work from Sept. 18, 1986 to Nov. 10, 1986].
e. December 16, 1988 - Preventive suspension for failure to submit the required Medical Certificate within 48
hours from the first date of the sick leave.

[Private respondent failed to report for work from Nov. 28, 1988 to the time such Memorandum was issued on
December 16, 1988].
f. February 22, 1989 - After formal administrative investigation, suspension of five (5) working days without
pay for unauthorized absences on November 28, 1988 to December 2, 1988. Absences from December 2, 1988.
Absences from December 9-19, 1988 were charged to private respondents vacation leave credits for the calendar
year 1989.
g. May 30, 1989 - Suspension of ten (10) working days without pay for unauthorized absences from May 17-19
1989, with warning that penalty of dismissal will be imposed upon commission of similar offense in the future.1

Due to his numerous infractions, private respondent was administratively investigated for violation of Meralcos
Code on Employee Discipline, particularly his repeated and unabated absence from work without prior notice his
superior specifically from August 2 to September 19, 1989.
After such administrative investigation was conducted by petitioner, it concluded that private respondent was
found to have grossly neglected his duties by not attending to his work as lineman from Aug. 2, 1989 to September
19, 1989 without notice to his superiors.
In a letter dated January 19, 1990, private respondent was notified of the investigation result and consequent
termination of his services effective January 19, 1990.
On March 7, 1990, private respondent filed a complaint for illegal dismissal against petitioner.
Issue: Whether or not private respondents dismissal from the service was illegal?
Ruling:
NO, Article 283 of the Labor Code enumerates the just causes for termination. Among such causes are the
following:
a) Serious misconduct or willful disobedience by the employee of the lawful orders of his employers or
representatives in connection with his work.
b) Gross and habitual neglect by the employee of his duties.
xxx xxx xxx.
This cause includes gross inefficiency, negligence and carelessness. Such just causes is derived from the right of the
employer to select and engage his employees. For indeed, regulation of manpower by the company clearly falls
within the ambit of management prerogative. This court had defined a valid exercise of management prerogative
as one which covers: hiring work assignment, working methods, time, place and manner of work, tools to be used,
processes to be followed, supervision of workers, working regulations, transfer of employees, work supervision,
lay-off of workers, and the discipline, dismissal and recall of workers. Except as provided for, or limited by, special
laws, an employer is free to regulate, according to his own discretion and judgment, all aspects of employment.5
Moreover, this Court has upheld a companys management prerogatives so long as they are exercised in good faith
for the advancement of the employers interest and not for the purpose of defeating or circumventing the rights of
the employees under special laws or under valid agreements.6
In the case at bar, the service record of private respondent with petitioner is perpetually characterized by
unexplained absences and unauthorized sick leave extensions. The nature of his job i.e. as a lineman-driver
requires his physical presence to minister to incessant complaints often faulted with electricity. As aptly stated by
the Solicitor General:
Habitual absenteeism of an errant employee is not concordant with the public service that petitioner has to
assiduously provide. To have delayed power failure in a certain district simply because a MERALCO employee
assigned to such area was absent and cannot immediately be replaced is a breach of public service of the highest
order. A deep sense of duty would, therefore, command that private respondent should, at the very least, limit his
absence for justifiable reasons.7
The penchant of private respondent to continually incur unauthorized absences and/or a violation of petitioners
sick leave policy finally rendered his dismissal as imminently proper.Private respondent cannot expect compassion
from this Court by totally disregarding his numerous previous infractions and take into considerations only the
period covering August 2, 1989 to September 19, 1989. As ruled by this Court in the cases of Mendoza v. National
Labor Relation Commissions,8 and National Service Corporation v. Leogardo, Jr.,9 it is the totality, not the
compartmentalization, of such company infractions that private respondents had consistently committed which
justified his penalty of dismissal.
As correctly observed by the Labor Arbiter:
In the case at bar, it was established that complainant violated respondents Code on Employee Discipline, not only
once, but ten (10) times. On the first occasion, complainant was simply warned. On the second time, he was
suspended for 5 days. With the hope of reforming the complainant, respondent generously imposed penalties of
suspension for his repeated unauthorized absences and violations of sick leave policy which constitute violations of
the Code. On the ninth time, complainant was already warned that the penalty of dismissal will be imposed for
similar or equally serious violation (Annex 10).
In total disregard of respondents warning, complainant, for the tenth time did not report for work without prior
authority from respondent; hence, unauthorized. Worse, in total disregard of his duties as lineman, he did not
report for work from August 1, 1989 to September 19, 1989; thus, seriously affected (sic) respondents operations
as a public utility. This constitute[s] a violation of respondents Code and gross neglect of duty and serious
misconduct under Article 283 of the labor Code.10
Habitual absenteeism should not and cannot be tolerated by petitioner herein which is a public utility company
engaged in the business of distributing and selling electric energy within its franchise areas and that the
maintenance of Meralcos distribution facilities (electric lines) by responding to customers complaints of power
failure, interruptions, line trippings and other line troubles is of paramount importance to the consuming public.
Hence, an employees habitual absenteeism without leave, which violated company rules and regulation is
sufficient to justify termination from the service.11

MANAGEMENT PREROGATIVE
[G.R. No. 143258. August 15, 2003]
PHILIPPINE AIRLINES, INC., petitioner, vs. JOSELITO PASCUA, ROBERT ABION, IRENEO ACOSTA, GARY
NEPOMUCENO, JASON PALAD, CEFERINO de la CRUZ, JOEL SALGADO, WILFREDO RIVERA, ALEXANDER ANORE,
FERNANDO BACCAY, EDILBERTO FAUNE, REYMAR KALAW, GARY G. MARASIGAN, RODOLFO ODO, JONATHAN
RENGO, ARTHUR APOSTOL, EDUARDO BALICASAN, MATHIAS GLEAN, ALINORMAN HARANGOTE, CRISANTO
CASTILLO, REX MARION CUERPO, EDGARDO del PRADO, RICARDO HERNANDEZ, PEDRO MERCADO JR., CESAR
PAYOYO, RONALDO QUEROL, MAURELIO SIERRA, MANUEL VILLELA, LOUISEN FELIPE, LOBENEDICTO TIMBREZA,
ANTONIO CABUG, ELISEO ESPIRITU, ARNEL BAUTISTA, ANTHONY ROBLES, DENNIS ARANDIA, CHARLIE BALUBAL,
RHODERIC BITAS, ORLANDO CANDA, CHARLIE de la CRUZ, RIQUESENDO de la FUENTE, RENO DUQUE, JONATHAN
FEBRE, ALVIN RIBERTA, NATHANIEL MALABAS, JUANITO SERUMA, FREDERICH de ASIS, ROMMEL ESTRADA,
SYDFREY EVARISTO, ERICSON INTAL, FERDINAND GALANG, RUBEN PEROLINA, ROBERT McBURNEY, ENRIQUE
SORIANO, ALVIN MANALAYSAY, NEMESIO MAALA, RAUL NEPOMUCENO, SAMUEL REYES, ERWIN MINA,
MANUEL REYES, REYNALDO ORAPA, TEODORICO PADELIO, RANDY PIMENTEL, WILLIAM PATRIMONIO, JOEL
RAMOS, OLEGARIO REYES, RAUL OCULTO, ROGELIO OLQUINDO, and LARRY VILLAFLOR. respondents.

Facts:
In April, August, and September of 1992, PAL hired private respondents as station attendants on a four or six-hour
work-shift a day at five to six days a week.
The primary duty of private respondents who were assigned to PALs Air services Department and ASD/CARGO was
to load cargo to departing, and unload cargo from arriving PAL international flights as well as flights of Cathay
Pacific, Northwest Airlines and Thai Airlines with which PAL had service contract[s].
On certain occasions, PAL compelled private respondents to work overtime because of urgent necessity. The
contracts with private respondents were extended twice, the last of which appears to have been for an indefinite
period.
On February 3, 1994, private respondent Joselito Pascua, in his and on behalf of other 79 part-time station
attendants, filed with the Department of Labor and Employment a complaint for:
(1) Regularization
(2) Underpayment of wages
(3) Overtime pay
(4) Thirteenth month pay
(5) Service incentive leave pay
(6) Full time of eight hours employment
(7) Recovery of benefits due to regular employees
(8) Night differential pay
(9) Moral damages and
(10) Attorneys fees,
which was docketed as NLRC NCR Case No. 00-02-00953-94.
During the pendency of the case, PAL President Jose Antonio Garcia and PAL Chairman & Corporate Executive
Officer Carlos G. Dominguez converted the employment status of private respondents from temporary part-time
to regular part-time.
On February 24, 1995, private respondents dropped their money claim then pending before the Office of Executive
Labor Arbiter Guanio, thus leaving for consideration their complaint for regularization - conversion of their
employment status from part-time to regular (working on an 8-hour shift).
Finding private respondents remaining cause of action was rendered moot and academic by their supervening
regularization and denying their prayer that their status as regular employees be given retroactive effect to six
months after their stint as temporary contractual employees, the Executive Labor Arbiter dismissed private
respondents complaint.
On appeal, the NLRC, finding for private respondents, declared them as regular employees of PAL with an eight-
hour work-shift. The pertinent portions of the NLRC decision reads:
Respondent admits that complainants have been performing functions that are considered necessary or desirable
in the usual business of PAL. There is no clear showing, however, that complainants employment had been fixed
for a particular project or undertaking the completion or termination of which has been determined at the time of
their engagement. Neither is there a clear showing that the work or services which they performed, was seasonal
in nature and their employment for the duration of the season. Complainants were simply hired as part-time
employees at the ASD and at the ASD/CARGO to do ramp services.
Complainants can therefore be considered as casual employees for a definite period during the first year of their
employment and, thereafter, as regular employees of respondents by operation of law. As such, they should be
entitled to the compensation and other benefits provided in the Collective Bargaining Agreement for regular
employees from or day after one year [of] service. Having been paid less than what they should receive,
complainants are therefore, entitled to the differentials.[4]
Petitioner promptly filed a motion for reconsideration of the NLRC decision, which was denied in an order dated
October 12, 1998. Consequently, petitioner filed with the Court of Appeals a special civil action for certiorari to
annul the NLRC decision. On January 26, 2000, the Court of Appeals dismissed the said petition and by resolution
issued on May 23, 2000, denied petitioners motion for reconsideration.
Issue: Whether or not the appellate court erred when it upheld the decision of the NLRC to accord respondents’
regular full-time employment although petitioner, in the exercise of its management prerogative, requires only
part-time services?
Ruling:
No,
According to petitioner, NLRC encroached upon this exclusive sphere of managerial decision, when it ruled that
respondents should be made regular full-time employees instead of regular part-time employees, and the
appellate court thereby erred in sustaining the NLRC. This contention does not quite ring true, much less persuade
us. It must be borne in mind that the exercise of management prerogative is not absolute. While it may be
conceded that management is in the best position to know its operational needs, the exercise of management
prerogative cannot be utilized to circumvent the law and public policy on labor and social justice. That prerogative
accorded management could not defeat the very purpose for which our labor laws exist: to balance the conflicting
interests of labor and management, not to tilt the scale in favor of one over the other, but to guaranty that labor
and management stand on equal footing when bargaining in good faith with each other. By its very nature,
encompassing as it could be, management prerogative must be exercised always with the principles of fair play at
heart and justice in mind.
Records show that respondents were first hired to work for a period of one year. Notwithstanding the fact that
respondents perform duties that are usually necessary or desirable in the usual trade or business of petitioner,
respondents were considered temporary employees as their engagement was fixed for a specific period. However,
equally borne by the records, is the fact that respondents employment was extended for more than two years.
Evidently, there was a continued and repeated necessity for their services, which puts to naught the contention
that respondents, beyond the one-year period, still continued to be temporary part-time employees. Article 280 of
the Labor Code[13] provides that any employee who has rendered at least one year of service, whether such
service is continuous or broken, shall be considered a regular employee with respect to the activity in which he is
employed, and his employment shall continue while such activity actually exists.
The NLRC decision now assailed is one based on substantial evidence, which is that amount of relevant evidence
that a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to justify a conclusion.[14] It bears stressing that findings of fact
of quasi-judicial agencies like the NLRC which have acquired expertise in the specific matters entrusted to their
jurisdiction are accorded by this Court not only respect but even finality if they are supported by substantial
evidence.[15] Here we find no compelling reason to go against the factual findings of the NLRC. The parties had
ample opportunity to present below the necessary evidence and arguments in furtherance of their causes, and it is
presumed that the quasi-judicial body rendered its decision taking into consideration the evidence and arguments
thus presented. Such being the case, it is likewise presumed that the official duty of the NLRC to render its decision
was regularly performed.[16] Petitioner has not shown any compelling justification to warrant reversal of the NLRC
findings. Absent any showing of patent error, or that the NLRC failed to consider a fact of substance that if
considered would warrant a different result, we yield to the factual conclusions of that quasi-judicial agency. More
so, when as here, these NLRC conclusions are affirmed by the appellate court.
It is basic to the point of being elementary that nomenclatures assigned to a contract shall be disregarded if it is
apparent that the attendant circumstances do not support their use or designation. The same is true with greater
force concerning contracts of employment, imbued as they are with public interest. Although respondents were
initially hired as part-time employees for one year, thereafter the over-all circumstances with respect to duties
assigned to them, number of hours they were permitted to work including over-time, and the extension of
employment beyond two years can only lead to one conclusion: that they should be declared full-time employees.
Thus, not without sufficient and substantial reasons, the claim of management prerogative by petitioner ought to
be struck down for being contrary to law and policy, fair play and good faith.
In sum, we are in agreement with the Court of Appeals that the NLRC did not commit grave abuse of discretion
simply because it overturned the labor arbiters decision. Grave abuse of discretion is committed when the
judgment is rendered in a capricious, whimsical, arbitrary or despotic manner. An abuse of discretion does not
necessarily follow just because there is a reversal by the NLRC of the decision of the labor arbiter. Neither does
variance in the evidentiary assessment by the NLRC and by the labor arbiter warrant as a matter of course another
full review of the facts. The NLRCs decision, so long as it is not bereft of evidentiary support from the records,
deserves respect from the Court.[17]