SC rules in favor of Coke laborers in illegal dismissal case
The Supreme Court (SC) has ruled in favor of a plant driver and a forklift operator of Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines, Inc. (CCBPI), who were deemed to have been illegally dismissed in 2005.
In a recent 13-page decision, the SC 1st Division ordered CCBPI to give Valentino Lingat and Aproniano Altoveros their yet-to-be-computed separation pay, as well as pay attorney’s fees equivalent to 10-percent of the amount.
The SC overturned the unfavorable May 5, 2008 and July 4, 2012 decisions of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) and the Court of Appeals (CA), which did not consider the two to be CCBPI employees.
The NLRC and the CA had both considered Monte Dapples Trading Corp. (MDTC), under which Lingat and Altoveros were employed on paper, to be an independent warehousing contractor.
But, the SC said MDTC was actually a labor-only contractor of CCBPI, an unlawful practice meant to circumvent the regularization of employees.
Despite being personnel outsourced from MDTC, the SC noted that Lingat and Altoveros performed “tasks directly related to CCBPI’s distribution and sale aspects of its business” and not to MDTC’s supposed warehousing services.
“Petitioners’ work were directly connected to the achievement of the purposes for which CCBPI was incorporated. Certainly, they were regular employees of CCBPI,” read the decision penned by Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo.
The SC added that the termination of the warehousing agreement between CCBPI and MDTC was not a valid cause for the two workers’ dismissal.