CA: PNTC Colleges didn’t illegally dismiss Bar candidate by shifting teaching schedule

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The Court of Appeals (CA) has affirmed the denial of the labor case filed by a Bar candidate who claimed he was forced to resign because PNTC Colleges, Inc., constantly revised his teaching workload and schedule allegedly out of hostility.

In a recent 19-page decision, the CA 9th Division denied the appeal of Ricardo Oabel, who has yet to pass the Bar examinations, on the December 7, 2017 and February 19, 2018 rulings of Labor Arbiter Romelita Rioflorido and the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) in favor of PNTC Colleges.

Oabel and PNTC Colleges failed to agree on the teaching load he would take in the Quezon City campus while preparing for the 2016 Bar examinations. Thus, no faculty employment contract was signed for the first semester of Academic Year 2016-2017.

The court said this was not enough reason for Oabel to impute bad faith on the college, especially since the latter tried to accommodate him by transferring him out of the Dasmariñas City campus and permitting several changes to his schedule before negotiations fell through.

It said it was “undisputed” that the learning of students should not be disrupted by the needs of the college’s faculty members.

“It was never questioned by Oabel, who was only concerned in getting a teaching load and schedule favorable to his schedule as he prepares for the 2016 Bar Examinations,” read the decision penned by Associate Walter Ong.

The court also pointed out that the college reserved its right to withdraw or reassign Oabel’s teaching load in conformity with the standards of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED). It added if Oabel’s schedule kept changing, it was because he kept rejecting the schedule given to him.

“The changes in Oabel’s schedule cannot be considered as an act indicative of constructive dismissal as, on the contrary, it demonstrates PNTC Colleges’ willingness to accommodate Oabel’s requests so he will be able to prepare for the 2016 Philippine Bar Examinations,” the court said.

The court also said Oabel could not blame PNTC Colleges for not employing him for the said semester because his “O.I.C.—Navigational Watch” professional license expired on June 4, 2016.

“As a final note, the Court stresses that not every inconvenience, disruption, difficulty, or disadvantage that an employee must endure results in a finding of constructive dismissal,” the court concluded.

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