NLRC rules in favor of agent’s13th month pay claim
On December 19, 2012, Gerson Marru Carino, filed a complaint for non-payment of 13th month pay against Callbest outsourcing and/or Mr. Bernardo M. Asperin.
In his position paper, the Complainant alleged his statement of facts as follows:
- He was employed at Callbest outsourcing services Inc., He decided to resign from Callbest due to personal reasons on July 2012.
- Upon his resignation, his 13th month pay was withheld despite the fact that this was given to other employees of Callbest who also voluntarily resigned.
- Thus, he decided to file a complaint against Callbest outsourcing services Inc., with the NLRC. Unfortunately, the respondent deliberately and unjustly refused to pay his 13th month pay
Respondents in their Position Paper alleged their Argument/Discussion as follows;
- It is the respectful position of the respondents that the Complainant is not entitled to the payment of 13th month pay for the year 2012. The Complainant is lying under oath when he claimed that he was dismissed in July 2012.
- The Complainant was not dismissed. The truth of the matter is that the Complainant Voluntarily Resigned from the Respondent’s corporation on August 10, 2012.
- It is worth highlighting that the Complainant filed his resignation letter on August 6, 2012, and insisted that the same be made effective immediately on August 10, 2012.
This circumstance and the manner of the Complainant’s filing of his resignation from the Respondent’s company is a manifest disclosure of his disregard of the existing law that mandates the particular timeframe within which a resignation should be made effective. Under existing Labor regulations, an employee is required to provide at least 15 days notice prior to the effectivity of his resignation. It is also specifically stated in his employment contract of a 15 day notice prior to resignation.
- Complainant alleges in his complaint that he is a Team Leader
- Complainant is, fully aware that being a Team Leader, he was responsible for the supervision over a certain number of fellow employees, and he was likewise accountable for the delivery of the required volume of production of his team.
- By his gesture of hastily filing his resignation, the Complainant has shown no respect toward his employer and he was utterly wanting in concern for his team and the Respondent’s company.
Definitely, the immediate resignation of the Complainant, without giving sufficient notification to his employer, had caused sever disruption to the operation of the respondent’s corporation. His hasty departure from the company was evidently tainted with malice and with the deliberate intention to inflict damage upon the Respondent’s.
It is worth noting that the Complainant was aware that his team was always last in terms of production. From January 2012 to June 2012, his team was ranked 13th place out of 13 teams in terms of the 2 most important indices of performance, namely, Verifications and Leads generated.
Not only did he fail to provide leadership to his team, his individual production paralleled that of his team. His rank was also dead last out of 13 team leaders.
The Respondents can only conclude that his hastily submitted resignation was also a response to avoid being terminated for cause, and therefore, not entitled to any benefit.
- Complainant had claimed in his sworn complaint that he was paid Php 12,000 per month. Such claim is inaccurate.
- While the amount may be correct, the above monthly salary was for a work schedule of 6 days a week. However, since August 2009 up to the date of his voluntary resignation, the complainant only worked for 5 days a week. He did not work during Saturdays. He was therefore, collecting salaries for those days he did not work.
- By the filing if his voluntary resignation, the complainant had actually pre empted the administrative action that the Respondent’s company would have taken upon the Complainant due to his very poor performance.
- Complainant’s work performance was the lowest among all the team leaders. He was previously advised about his unimpressive work attitude, and he knows that the appropriate sanction would be forthcoming. Thus, he opted to voluntarily leave the Respondent’s company, and in haste.
- The Respondent’s hereby manifest their utmost respect for Labor and their strict adherence to Labor laws particularly in the payment of 13th month pay. Respondents are aware that they are obliged to pay its employees their 13th month pay at an amount pro rated to actual number of months that the employees may have worked during the year.
- In this particular case, the Respondents most respectfully beg, the kind indulgence of the Honourable office. It is the Respondent’s respectful position that under the circumstances obtaining herein, they are not obliged to pay the complainant the amount he is claiming.
In his reply, the Complainant, Gerson Marru Carino, alleged as follows;
- Herein Complainant had already submitted his Position paper and the same is peremptorily adopted as an integral part of this reply to counter the Respondent’s position paper.
- In their Position paper, the complainant had submitted, repleads and reiterates, the following;
ON THE ISSUE WHETHER HEREIN COMPLAINANT IS ILLEGALY DISMISSED
The relation between the Complainant and the Respondent had turned sour and bitter or even strained, (sic) particularly so when the practices and treatment of the management are purely in the form of HARRASSMENT among other annoying circumstances, thus, forcing the employee to voluntarily resign – but the truth of the matter is that “it is against his will”; admittedly, no one in his right mind will opt to lose his employment which is his source of livelihood for himself especially for his family.
Peremptorily, no one will let others steal his property and that property in the constitutional sense is the Complainant’s employment as “TEAM LEADER” over a certain number of employees of CALLBEST OUTSOURCING SERVICES INC.,
In the Respondent’s Position paper, the latter tried to justify that the complainant was not illegally dismissed. Such contention is untenable and merely delays the due proceedings of the instant case.
ON THE ISSUE WHETHER HEREIN COMPLAINANT IS ENTITLED TO RECEIVE 13th MONTH PAY
Applying the above quoted provision, complainant is entitled to the payment of 13th month pay for the actual services he rendered for the Respondent’s company
In the case at bar, the Complainant was forced to file this instant case because of the arbitrary and unbearable treatment of the Respondents towards him. As a result of the filing of the instant case, the complainant incurred transportation and other incidental expenses. Verily, the complainant would not have incurred such expenses were it not for the failure of the Respondent to accord him of his constitutional right as one of its employees. Later on, forcing him to quit and submit his resignation letter.
ON THE ISSUE WHETHER HEREIN COMPLAINANT IS ENTITLED TO DAMAGES AND ATTORNEY’S FEES
Complainant is entitled to be awarded with exemplary damages since his voluntary resignation was effected on account of the wanton, fraudulent, oppressive or malevolent manner of the employer towards the Complainant
- In the resolution of this case, any slight doubts must be resolved in favor the workers. This is in keeping with the constitutional mandate of promoting social justice and affording protection to Labor (Sections 6 and 9, Article II, Constitution)
Finally, the Respondents, CALLBEST OUTSOURCING SERVICES INC, in their reply alleged as follows;
On the alleged Illegal Dismissal
- Complainant is lying through his teeth. The Complainant voluntarily resigned and was not illegally dismissed.
- The deliberate falsehood and unabashed twisting of facts of the case, patently disclosed the true character of the Complainant.
- Under the existing jurisprudence, any allegation of dismissal must be proven by the employee himself.
- The Complainant’s allegation of harassment has no factual basis.
- The Complainant filed his resignation not because “it is against his will”. The truth is he consistently failed month after month to meet company targets, and he knew that, by his own attitude and ineptness, his termination was forthcoming.
Complainant is aware that not a single co-employee will attest to his claim that he was harassed and forced to resign. If indeed, there is any semblance of truth to his allegation, then he should have taken the testimony of any one of his fellow workers, past or present, to corroborate his allegations. Very appallingly, there is no one from his co-workers who would be willing to come to his rescue.
- Modesty aside, harassment toward employees has never been the habit of the respondents.
On the entitlement to 13th month pay
- Again, the Complainant’s allegation that he is the only employee who was not paid and there were others who resigned but was given 13th month pay is another round of fabrication. In fact, 13th month pay is withheld from employees who sever employment-
- Without giving the employer, at least 15 days prior notice; and
- Just Cause
- As aptly and amply discussed in the Respondent’s Position Paper, there was a valid basis to withhold the Complainant’s 13th month pay. He left the company without complying with the 15-days prior notice. He neglectfully abandoned his unfinished assignments, thereby causing confusion and adverse effects on the company’s operation.
- More significantly, the Complainant would have been dismissed for cause had he not pre-empted the Respondents.
- His incapacity to work in a call center environment was further proven by his termination from his next employer, also a call center, after only one month of employment for the very same reasons that he would have been dismissed by the Respondents.
On the demand for Damages
- The Respondents respectfully maintain that there is no legal nor moral basis for the Complainant’s demand for entitlement to damages. Apparently, the Complainant is misleading this Honourable Office, through his lies, fabrication and fake claims.
The sole resolution herein, based on the evidence on record, is whether or not the Complainant is entitled to his pro-rated 13th month pay for year 2012.
The 13th Month Pay cannot be forfeited if the Employee failed to comply with the 15 days notice prior to resignation, or even if he was dismissed for cause.
It is mandatory annual benefit of work rendered and is pro-rated if the employee renders less than one year of service.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, NLRC ordered the Respondent Corporation to pay the complainant his proportionate 13th month pay and 10% thereof as attorney’s fees
This may or may not be controlling at the time of this writing.
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