Monday, April 28, 2014

What should determine an employee-complainant’s cause or causes of action?

In the case below, the Petitioner, Samar-Med, asserts that it was a mistake for CA to reverse the finding of NLRC that Gutang was dismissed for a cause. It raises, as an issue, among others, that Gutang in his complaint did not include illegal dismissal as among his causes of action.

The Court held:

“Firstly, petitioner’s contention that the validity of Gutang’s dismissal should not be determined because it had not been included in his complaint before the NLRC is bereft of merit. The complaint of Gutang was a mere checklist of possible causes of action that he might have against Roleda. Such manner of preparing the complaint was obviously designed to facilitate the filing of complaints by employees and laborers who are thereby enabled to expediently set forth their grievances in a general manner.12 But the non-inclusion in the complaint of the issue on the dismissal did not necessarily mean that the validity of the dismissal could not be an issue. The rules of the NLRC require the submission of verified position papers by the parties should they fail to agree upon an amicable settlement, and bar the inclusion of any cause of action not mentioned in the complaint or position paper from the time of their submission by the parties. In view of this, Gutang’s cause of action should be ascertained not from a reading of his complaint alone but also from a consideration and evaluation of both his complaint and position13 paper.” (italics added)
Samar-Med Distribution vs. National Labor Relations Commission, et al., G.R. No. 162385 July 15, 2013
Read the full text of the case here.


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