Sunday, February 05, 2012

Wack-Wack Golf & Country Club vs. NLRC, G.R. No. 149793, April 15, 2005

Facts: On November 29, 1996, a fire destroyed a large portion of the main clubhouse of the Wack Wack Golf and Country Club (Wack Wack), including its kitchen. In view of the reconstruction of the whole clubhouse complex, Wack Wack filed a notice with the DOLE on that it was going to suspend the operations of the Food and Beverage (F & B) Department.

An Agreement was forged whereby a special separation benefit/retirement package for interested Wack Wack employees. Respondents Carmencita F. Dominguez and Martina B. Cagasan avail of the special separation package and signed a Release and Quitclaim in favor of Wack Wack.Respondent. The last one to avail of the separation package was Crisanto Baluyot, Sr.

On October 15, 1997, Wack Wack entered into a Management Contract with Business Staffing and Management, Inc. (BSMI), a corporation engaged in the business as Management Service Consultant undertaking and managing for a fee projects which are specialized and technical in character like marketing, promotions, merchandising, financial management, operation management and the like. 

Pursuant to the Agreement, the retired employees of Wack Wack by reason of their experience were given priority by BSMI in hiring. On October 21, 1997, respondents Cagasan and Dominguez filed their respective applications for employment with BSMI. They were eventually hired by BSMI to their former positions in Wack Wack as project employees and were issued probationary contracts.

Due to these various management service contracts, BSMI undertook an organizational analysis and manpower evaluation to determine its efficacy, and to streamline its operations. In the course of its assessment, BSMI saw that the positions of Cagasan and Dominguez were redundant. In the case of respondent Cagasan, her tasks as personnel officer were likewise being taken cared of by the different management service contractors; on the other hand, Dominguez’s work as telephone operator was taken over by the personnel of the accounting department. Thus, in separate Letters dated February 27, 1998, the services of Dominguez and Cagasan were terminated. With respect to Baluyot, he applied for the position of Chief Porter on May 12, 1998. The position, however, was among those recommended to be abolished by the BSMI, so he was offered the position of Caddie Master Aide with a starting salary of P5,500.00 a month. Baluyot declined the offer. Pending Wack Wack’s approval of the proposed abolition of the position of Chief Porter, Baluyot was temporarily accepted to the position with a monthly salary of P12,000.00. In July 1998, Baluyot decided not to accept the position of Caddie Master Aide; thus, BSMI continued with its plan to abolish the said position of Chief Porter and Baluyot was dismissed from the service.

The Labor Arbiter found that the dismissal of Dominguez and Cagasan was for a valid and authorized cause, and dismissed their complaints. While the NLRC reversed the Labor Arbiter’s decision and ordered Wack Wack to reinstate Carmencita F. Dominguez and Martina Cagasan.

Issue: Whether or not BSMI is an independent contractor or a labor-only contractor.

Held: BSMI is an INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR. An independent contractor is one who undertakes “job contracting,” i.e., a person who: (a) carries on an independent business and undertakes the contract work on his own account under his own responsibility according to his own manner and method, free from the control and direction of his employer or principal in all matters connected with the performance of the work except as to the results thereof; and (b) has substantial capital or investment in the form of tools, equipments, machineries, work premises and other materials which are necessary in the conduct of the business. Jurisprudential holdings are to the effect that in determining the existence of an independent contractor relationship, several factors may be considered, such as, but not necessarily confined to, whether or not the contractor is carrying on an independent business; the nature and extent of the work; the skill required; the term and duration of the relationship; the right to assign the performance of specified pieces of work; the control and supervision of the work to another; the employer’s power with respect to the hiring, firing, and payment of the contractor’s workers; the control of the premises; the duty to supply premises, tools, appliances, materials and labor; and the mode, manner and terms of payment.

There is indubitable evidence showing that BSMI is an independent contractor, engaged in the management of projects, business operations, functions, jobs and other kinds of business ventures, and has sufficient capital and resources to undertake its principal business. It had provided management services to various industrial and commercial business establishments.

BSMI admitted that it employed the respondents, giving the said retired employees some degree of priority merely because of their work experience with the petitioner, and in order to have a smooth transition of operations. In accordance with its own recruitment policies, the respondents were made to sign applications for employment, accepting the condition that they were hired by BSMI as probationary employees only. Not being contrary to law, morals, good custom, public policy and public order, these employment contracts, which the parties are bound are considered valid. Unfortunately, after a study and evaluation of its personnel organization, BSMI was impelled to terminate the services of the respondents on the ground of redundancy. This right to hire and fire is another element of the employer-employee relationship which actually existed between the respondents and BSMI, and not with Wack Wack.

There being no employer-employee relationship between the petitioner and respondents Cagasan and Dominguez, the latter have no cause of action for illegal dismissal and damages against the petitioner. Consequently, the petitioner cannot be validly ordered to reinstate the respondents and pay them their claims for backwages.

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1 comments: on "Wack-Wack Golf & Country Club vs. NLRC, G.R. No. 149793, April 15, 2005"

Maria Anna Ramirez said...

The do hope the persons involved and well-regarded with their situation and was assisted well by now. Also, living nearby wack wack golf would be as pleasing as I hoped it to be.

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