Issue of January 13, 2019
Mt. Province

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NLRC sustains ruling on labor raps vs hotel management
by Rimaliza A. Opiña

The third division of the National Labor Relations Commission sustained its earlier resolution ordering the management of a hotel in Baguio to pay its former employee over P100,000 representing back wages, attorney’s fees, among others.

According to the NLRC, there is no reason for it to reverse its Oct. 12, 2018 resolution that overturned the August 2018 resolution of the labor arbiter in Baguio that earlier said the management of Newtown Plaza Hotel cannot be cited for illegal dismissal of its former employee, Joshua Tejada.

In a resolution promulgated on Dec. 11, 2018, Commissioners Alejandro Villanueva, Alex Lopez, and Pablo Espiritu Jr. upheld the NLRC’s Oct. 12, 2018 resolution saying Newtown failed to prove that Tejada abandoned his job, which led to his dismissal.

The case stemmed from Tejada’s complaint that said after rendering his duty as waiter, he was reportedly denied his meal break. He took a break anyway but this led to his being reprimanded by his immediate supervisor and later, the hotel’s human resource officer.

In his complaint, Tejada said he decided not to report to work anymore because of strained relationship with his fellow workers including his superiors. Nonetheless, he filed a complaint before the NLRC in Baguio saying his right as a worker has been violated.

On Oct. 22, Newtown submitted a motion for reconsideration.

In upholding its earlier resolution, the NLRC said there was no substantial evidence presented (by Newtown) that will prove Tejada’s intention to discontinue employment.

“Respondents (Newtown) harp on the defense of abandonment, rather than proving the claim of illegal dismissal,” the NLRC said citing an earlier case that said that in termination cases, the burden of proof rests on the employer to show that the dismissal is for just cause. The NLRC said in the absence of additional facts, Newtown’s motion for reconsideration should be denied.

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