Saturday, March 10, 2012

Colgate-Palmolive Philippines, Inc. vs. Ople (163 SCRA 323)

Facts: Before us is a Petition for Certiorari seeking to set aside and annul the Order of respondent Minister of Labor and Employment (MOLE) directly certifying private respondent as the recognized and duly-authorized collective bargaining agent for petitioner's sales force and ordering the reinstatement of three employees of petitioner.

The respondent Union, on the other hand, reiterated the issue in its Notice to Strike, alleging that it was duly registered with the Bureau of Labor Relations with a total membership of 87 regular salesmen (nationwide) out of 117 regular salesmen presently employed by the company as of November 30, 1985. In addition, it stated that since the registration of the Union up to the present, more than 213 of the total salesmen employed are already members of the Union, leaving no doubt that the true sentiment of the salesmen was to form and organize the Colgate Palmolive Salesmen Union. The Union further alleged that the company is unreasonably delaying the recognition of the union because when it was informed of the organization of the union, and when it was presented with a set of proposals for a collective bargaining agreement, the company took an adversarial stance by secretly distributing a "survey sheet on union membership" to newly hired salesmen from the Visayas, Mindanao and Metro Manila areas. Moreover, District Sales Managers and Sales Supervisors coerced salesmen from the Visayas and Mindanao by requiring them to fill up and/or accomplish said form by checking answers which were adverse to the union; that with a handful of the survey sheets secured by management through coercion, it now would like to claim that all salesmen are not in favor of the organization of the union, which acts are clear manifestations of unfair labor practices.

Issue: Whether or not the employer can be compelled to continue with the employment of a person who is guilty of misfeasance towards his employer.

Held: No. The order of the respondent Minister to reinstate the employees despite a clear finding of guilt on their part is not in conformity with law. Reinstatement is simply incompatible with a finding of guilt. Where the totality of the evidence was sufficient to warrant the dismissal of the employees the law warrants their dismissal without making any distinction between a first offender and a habitual delinquent. Under the law, the respondent Minister is duly mandated to equally protect and respect not only the labor or workers' side but also the management and/or employers' side. The law, in protecting the rights of the laborer, authorizes neither oppression nor self-destruction of the employer. To order the reinstatement of the erring employees namely, Mejia, Sayson and Reynante would in effect encourage unequal protection of the laws as a managerial employee of the petitioner company involved in the same incident which was already dismissed and was not ordered to be reinstated. As stated in the case of San Miguel Brewery vs. National Labor Union, "an employer cannot legally be compelled to continue with the employment of a person who admittedly was guilty of misfeasance or malfeasance towards his employer, and whose continuance in the service of the latter is patently inimical to his interest.”

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