(Question XII, Labor Law, 2017 Bar Exam)
Juanito initiated a case for illegal dismissal against Mandarin Company. The Labor Arbiter decided in his favor, and ordered his immediate reinstatement with full backwages and without loss of seniority and other benefits. Mandarin Company did not like to allow him back in its premises to prevent him from influencing his co-workers to move against the interest of the company; hence, it directed his payroll reinstatement and paid his full backwages and other benefits even as it appealed to the NLRC.
A few months later, the NLRC reversed the ruling of the Labor Arbiter and declared that Juanito’s dismissal was valid. The reversal ultimately became final.
May Mandarin Company recover the backwages and other benefits paid to Juanito pursuant to the decision of the Labor Arbiter in view of the reversal by the NLRC? Rule, with reasons. (2.5%)
Gene is a married regular employee of Matibay Corporation. The employees and Matibay Corporation had an existing CBA that provided for funeral or bereavement aid of ₱15,000.00 in case of the death of a legal dependent of a regular employee. His widowed mother, who had been living with him and his family for many years, died; hence, he claimed the funeral aid. Matibay Corporation denied the claim on the basis that she had not been his legal dependent as the term legal dependent was defined by the Social Security Law.
(a) Who may be the legal dependents of Gene under the Social Security Law? (2.5%)
(b) Is Gene entitled to the funeral aid for the death of his widowed mother? Explain your answer. (2%)
Rosa was granted vacation leave by her employer to spend three weeks in Africa with her family. Prior to her departure, the General Manager of the company requested her to visit the plant of a client of the company in Zimbabwe in order to derive best manufacturing practices useful to the company. She accepted the request because the errand would be important to the company and Zimbabwe was anyway in her itinerary. It appears that she contracted a serious disease during the trip. Upon her return, she filed a claim for compensation, insisting that she had contracted the disease while serving the interest of her employer.
Under the Labor Code, the sickness or death of an employee, to be compensable, must have resulted from an illness either definitely accepted as an occupational disease by the Employees’ Compensation Commission, or caused by employment subject to proof that the risk of contracting the same is increased by working conditions.
Is the serious disease Rosa contracted during her trip to Africa compensable? Explain your answer. (2.5%)
A. No. Answer
Under labor law jurisprudence, the reinstated employee has no duty to return or reimburse the salary he received during the period that the lower court or tribunal’s governing decision was for the employee’s illegal dismissal. Rule
In the case at bar, the Labor Arbiter ordered reinstatement. Instead of actual reinstatement, Mandarin Company chose payroll reinstatement. Notwithstanding the reversal by the NLRC of the decision of the Labor Arbiter, Juanito has no duty to return or reimburse the salary he received during the period that the Labor Arbiter’s decision applies or governs. Apply
Thus, Mandaring Company cannot recover the backwages and other benefits paid to Juanito. Conclusion
B. (a) Under the Social Security Law, the dependents are as follows:
1) The legal spouse entitled by law to receive support from the member;
2) The legitimate, legitimated or legally adopted, and illegitimate child who is unmarried, not gainfully employed, and has not reached twenty-one (21) years of age, or if over twenty-one (21) years of age, he is congenitally or while still a minor has been permanently incapacitated and incapable of self-support, physically or mentally: and
3) The parent who is receiving regular support from the member.
(b) Yes. Answer
Under the Labor Code, and labor law jurisprudence, benefits under the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) are contractual obligations of the employer to the covered employees. Further, the Civil Code provides that all labor contracts, which include a CBA, shall be construed in favor of the safety and decent living for the laborer. Rule
In the case at bar, Gene’s mother was living with him and his family for many years and thus presumably receiving regular support from him. Gen’s mother is thus a parent receiving regular support from him. Under the Social Security Law, and the CBA, the Company should provide him the funeral or bereavement aid of ₱15,000.00. Apply
Thus, Gene is entitled to the funeral aid for the death of his widowed mother. Conclusion
C. Yes. Answer
Under the Amended Rules on Employees Compensation, the sickness and the resulting disability or death to be compensable, the sickness must be the result of an occupational disease listed under Annex “A” of the Rules. Rule
In the case at bar, Rosa contracted the serious disease in the performance of her work or occupation. While called a “request”, it does not rule out the fact that she went to the plant of a client of the company in Zimbabwe in her capacity as an employee and after being “requested” by the General Manager. Due to this, she acquired the serious disease during the trip to the plant. Apply
Thus, the serious disease Rosa contracted during her trip to Africa is compensable. Conclusion
(Notice: The suggested answers simulate those that a bar examinee may provide, and thus specific citations are not provided. Notwithstanding, in the reviewers, the bar exam question is answered under the appropriate topic which discusses the concepts and principles, as well as provide for specific citations. Accordingly, please refer to it on the reviewer or in the Library.)
Lawyer, Author, Mentor