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PAL v. NLRC
Transcript of PAL v. NLRC
NLRC Petitioner Facts Philippine Airlines, Inc. ("PAL") Private Respondent Respondent Dr. Herminio A. Fabros National Labor Relations Commision ("NLRC") Dr. Fabros filed for illegal suspension against PAL PAL appealed to the NLRC The motion for reconsideration was also denied. Issue Ruling Facts Dr. Fabros was hired by PAL as a flight surgeon in the company. He was assigned at the PAL Medical Clinic and was on duty from 4:00 pm to 12:00 am. On February 17, 1984, 7:00 pm, he went on a five-minute drive to his home to have his dinner. A few minutes later, the clinic received an emergency call from the PAL Cargo Services stating that one of the employees, Mr. Manuel Acosta, had suffered a heart attack. The nurse on duty, Mr. Merlino Eusebio, then, called Dr. Fabros and informed him about the emergency. At 7:50, the patient arrived. Mr. Eusebio immediately rushed him to the hospital The management found the explanation unacceptable. He was charged with abandonment of post while on duty. He was given 10 days to answer back. At 7:51, Dr. Fabros reached the clinic but the patient and the nurse already left. The next day, the patient died. Upon learning about the incident, the PAL Medical Director Dr. Godofredo B. Banzon, instructed the Chief Flight Surgeon to conduct an investigation. The Chief Flight Surgeon, then, required an explanation from Dr. Eusebio on why he should not be held liable. In his explanation, Dr. Fabros claimed that: He was entitled to a 30-min. meal break.
He immediately left his residence upon learning about the incident and he reached the clinic a few minutes later.
Mr. Eusebio panicked and did not wait for him.
He reiterated the same reasons. He denied that he abandoned his post. He only left the clinic to have his dinner at home. In fact, he was able to return immediately upon being informed. After evaluation, the management decided to suspend Dr. Fabros for 3 months effective December 16, 1994. Labor Arbiter Romulus A. Protacio decided in favor of Dr. Fabros The suspension of Dr. Fabros was declared illegal NLRC dismissed the appeal The decision of the Labor Arbiter is supported by the facts on record and the law. The case was then brought to the Supreme Court. Whether or not the suspension of Dr. Fabros for 3 months is valid. There was an illegal supension on the part of PAL The facts depict that Dr. Fabros did not abandon his post.
He left the clinic to eat dinner at his house The nurse on duty knew the whereabouts of Dr. Fabros so that he could be contacted easily.
He immediately left his home upon knowing about the emergency. The petitioner contends that Dr. Fabros is obliged to stay at the company premises for not less that 8 hours. Thus he may not leave the company even if he has to take a meal.
Art. 83. Normal hours of work. The normal hours of work of any employee shall not exceed eight (8) hours a day.
Health personnel in cities and municipalities with a population of at least one million (1,000,000) or in hospitals and clinics with a bed capacity of at least one hundred (100) shall hold regular office hours for eight (8) hours a day, for five (5) days a week, exclusive of time for meals, except where the exigencies of the service require that such personnel work for six (6) days or forty-eight (48) hours, in which case, they shall be entitled to an additional compensation of at least thirty percent (30%) of their regular wage for work on the sixth day. For purposes of this Article, "health personnel" shall include resident physicians, nurses, nutritionists, dietitians, pharmacists, social workers, laboratory technicians, paramedical technicians, psychologists, midwives, attendants and all other hospital or clinic personnel. Art. 85. Meal periods. Subject to such regulations as the Secretary of Labor may prescribe, it shall be the duty of every employer to give his employees not less than sixty (60) minutes time-off for their regular meals. SECTION 7. Meal and Rest Periods. — Every employer shall give his employees, regardless of sex, not less than one (1) hour time-off for regular meals, except in the following cases when a meal period of not less than twenty (20) minutes may be given by the employer provided that such shorter meal period is credited as compensable hours worked of the employee:
(a) Where the work is non-manual work in nature or does not involve strenuous physical exertion;
(b) Where the establishment regularly operates not less than sixteen (16) hours a day;
(c) In case of actual or impending emergencies or there is urgent work to be performed on machineries, equipment or installations to avoid serious loss which the employer would otherwise suffer; and
(d) Where the work is necessary to prevent serious loss of perishable goods Sec. 7, Rule I, Book III, Omnibus Rules Implementing the Labor Code The 8-hour work period does not include the meal break. The law does not state that employees must take their meals within the company premises. As long as they return to their posts on time, they are not prohibited from going out. Case Closed.
Mark Devin A. Robles