CA affirms order for GMA to reinstate illegally dismisseed utility men
The Court of Appeals (CA) has affirmed the order for GMA Network, Inc., to reinstate five utility men who were illegally dismissed under the guise of redundancy, when the broadcasting giant actually planned to outsource their functions.
In a recent 14-page decision, the CA 9th Division denied GMA’s petition contesting the National Labor Relations Commission’s (NLRC) June 27, 2018 ruling.
The NLRC had affirmed the October 5, 2017 decision of Labor Arbiter Adolfo Babiano ordering GMA to reinstate Reynaldo Aranas, Casiano Fernandez, Jr., Romel Gruezo, Rodelon Gruezo and Criseldo Lavilla, as well as pay them back wages.
The CA agreed that GMA failed to prove that the declaration of the redundancy of the “administrative clerk” positions to be justified and valid.
GMA merely presented the Establishment Termination Report and the List of Terminated Workers Due to Closure/Retrenchment, as well as the copy of checks for separation pay, as evidence of good faith.
The court noted that these documents “did not account for anything to justify the declaration” of redundancy, such as feasibility studies, and the management’s approval of the reorganization plan.
In fact, GMA’s notices of separation even stated that the company planned to outsource the utility men’s functions.
This “amounted to an admission that the [utility men’s] services were still significant and necessary,” read the decision penned by Associate Justice Apolinario Bruselas, Jr.
Although the characterization of an employee’s services as redundant or no longer necessary is an exercise of business judgment, the court reminded GMA that “the exercise of such judgment must not violate the law, and must not be arbitrary or malicious.”