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Calalang v.


ISAE v. Quisumbing That public policy abhors inequality and discrimination is beyond contention. Our Constitution and laws reflect the policy against these evils. The Constitution8 in the Article on Social Justice and Human Rights exhorts Congress to "give highest priority to the enactment of measures that protect and enhance the right of all people to human dignity, reduce social, economic, and political inequalities." The very broad Article 19 of the Civil Code requires every person, "in the exercise of his rights and in the performance of his duties, [to] act with justice, give everyone his due, and observe honesty and good faith. The Constitution 17 specifically provides that labor is entitled to "humane conditions of work." These conditions are not restricted to the physical workplace the factory, the office or the field but include as well the manner by which employers treat their employees. Discrimination, particularly in terms of wages, is frowned upon by the Labor Code. Article 135, for example, prohibits and penalizes 21 the payment of lesser compensation to a female employee as against a male employee for work of equal value. Article 248 declares it an unfair labor practice for an employer to discriminate in regard to wages in order to encourage or discourage membership in any labor organization. The foregoing provisions impregnably institutionalize in this jurisdiction the long honored legal truism of "equal pay for equal work." Persons who work with substantially equal qualifications, skill, effort and responsibility, under similar conditions, should be paid similar salaries. 22 This rule applies to the School, its "international character" notwithstanding.

While we recognize the need of the School to attract foreign-hires, salaries should not be used as an enticement to the prejudice of local-hires. The local-hires perform the same services as foreign-hires and they ought to be paid the same salaries as the latter. For the same reason, the "dislocation factor" and the foreign-hires' limited tenure also cannot serve as valid bases for the distinction in salary rates. The dislocation factor and limited tenure affecting foreign-hires are adequately compensated by certain benefits accorded them which are not enjoyed by local-hires, such as housing, transportation, shipping costs, taxes and home leave travel allowances. It does not appear that foreign-hires have indicated their intention to be grouped together with local-hires for purposes of collective bargaining. The collective bargaining history in the School also shows that these groups were always treated separately. Foreign-hires have limited tenure; localhires enjoy security of tenure. Although foreign-hires perform similar functions under the same working conditions as the local-hires, foreignhires are accorded certain benefits not granted to local-hires. These benefits, such as housing, transportation, shipping costs, taxes, and home leave travel allowance, are reasonably related to their status as foreignhires, and justify the exclusion of the former from the latter. To include foreign-hires in a bargaining unit with local-hires would not assure either group the exercise of their respective collective bargaining rights.

PASEI v. Drilon The petitioner has shown no satisfactory reason why the contested measure should be nullified. There is no question that Department Order No. 1 applies only to "female contract workers," 14 but it does not thereby make an undue discrimination between the sexes. It is well-settled that "equality before the law" under the Constitution 15does not import a perfect Identity of rights among all men and women. It admits of classifications, provided that (1) such classifications rest on substantial distinctions; (2) they are germane to the purposes of the law; (3) they are not confined to existing conditions; and (4) they apply equally to all members of the same class. 16

As we have furthermore indicated, executive determinations are generally final on the Court. Under a republican regime, it is the executive branch that enforces policy. For their part, the courts decide, in the proper cases, whether that policy, or the manner by which it is implemented, agrees with the Constitution or the laws, but it is not for them to question its wisdom. Unquestionably, it is the avowed objective of Department Order No. 1 to "enhance the protection for Filipino female overseas workers" 17 this Court has no quarrel that in the midst of the terrible mistreatment Filipina workers have suffered abroad, a ban on deployment will be for their own good and welfare The petitioners's reliance on the Constitutional guaranty of worker participation "in policy and decision-making processes affecting their rights and benefits" 29 is not well-taken. The right granted by this provision "Protection to labor" does not signify the promotion of employment alone. What concerns the Constitution more paramountly is that such an employment be above all, decent, just, and humane. It is bad enough that the country has to send its sons and daughters to strange lands because it cannot satisfy their employment needs at home. Under these circumstances, the Government is duty-bound to insure that our toiling expatriates have adequate protection, personally and economically, while away from home. In this case, the Government has evidence, an evidence the petitioner cannot seriously dispute, of the lack or inadequacy of such protection, and as part of its duty, it has precisely ordered an indefinite ban on deployment. Jose Mel Bernarte v. PBA To determine the existence of an employer-employee relationship, case law has consistently applied the four-fold test, to wit: (a) the selection and engagement of the employee; (b) the payment of wages; (c) the power of dismissal; and (d) the employers power to control the employee on the means and methods by which the work is accomplished. The so-called "control test" is the most important indicator of the presence or absence of an employer-employee relationship.19

Further, not every form of control that a party reserves to himself over the conduct of the other party in relation to the services being rendered may be accorded the effect of establishing an employer-employee relationship. Generally, "if an employer has the right to control and direct the work of an individual, not only as to the result to be achieved, but also as to details by which the result is achieved, an employer/employee relationship is likely to exist." The Court must be careful to distinguish between "control[ling] the conduct of another party contracting party by setting out in detail his obligations" consistent with the freedom of contract, on the one hand, and "the discretionary control an employer daily exercises over its employees conduct" on the other. In addition, the fact that PBA repeatedly hired petitioner does not by itself prove that petitioner is an employee of the former. For a hired party to be considered an employee, the hiring party must have control over the means and methods by which the hired party is to perform his work, which is absent in this case. The continuous rehiring by PBA of petitioner simply signifies the renewal of the contract between PBA and petitioner, and highlights the satisfactory services rendered by petitioner warranting such contract renewal.

Atok Big Wedge v. Sison Applying the aforementioned test, an employer-employee relationship is apparently absent in the case at bar. Among other things, respondent was not required to report everyday during regular office hours of petitioner. Respondent's monthly retainer fees were paid to him either at his residence or a local restaurant. More importantly, petitioner did not prescribe the manner in which respondent would accomplish any of the tasks in which his expertise as a liaison officer was needed; respondent was left alone and given the freedom to accomplish the tasks using his own means and method. Respondent was assigned tasks to perform, but petitioner did not control the manner and methods by which respondent performed these tasks. Verily, the absence of the element of control on the part of the petitioner engenders a conclusion that he is not an employee of the petitioner.

Furthermore, despite the fact that petitioner made use of the services of respondent for eleven years, he still cannot be considered as a regular employee of petitioner. Article 280 of the Labor Code, in which the lower court used to buttress its findings that respondent became a regular employee of the petitioner, is not applicable in the case at bar. Indeed, the Court has ruled that said provision is not the yardstick for determining the existence of an employment relationship because it merely distinguishes between two kinds of employees, i.e., regular employees and casual employees, for purposes of determining the right of an employee to certain benefits, to join or form a union, or to security of tenure; it does not apply where the existence of an employment relationship is in dispute.24It is, therefore, erroneous on the part of the Court of Appeals to rely on Article 280 in determining whether an employer-employee relationship exists between respondent and the petitioner Francisco v. NLRC GR 170087 However, in certain cases the control test is not sufficient to give a complete picture of the relationship between the parties, owing to the complexity of such a relationship where several positions have been held by the worker. There are instances when, aside from the employers power to control the employee with respect to the means and methods by which the work is to be accomplished, economic realities of the employment relations help provide a comprehensive analysis of the true classification of the individual, whether as employee, independent contractor, corporate officer or some other capacity. The better approach would therefore be to adopt a two-tiered test involving: (1) the putative employers power to control the employee with respect to the means and methods by which the work is to be accomplished; and (2) the underlying economic realities of the activity or relationship. Thus, the determination of the relationship between employer and employee depends upon the circumstances of the whole economic activity, 22 such as: (1) the extent to which the services performed are an integral part of the employers business; (2) the extent of the workers investment in equipment and facilities; (3) the nature and degree of control exercised by the employer; (4) the workers opportunity for profit and loss; (5) the amount of initiative, skill, judgment or foresight required for the success of the claimed independent enterprise; (6) the permanency and

duration of the relationship between the worker and the employer; and (7) the degree of dependency of the worker upon the employer for his continued employment in that line of business. 23 The proper standard of economic dependence is whether the worker is dependent on the alleged employer for his continued employment in that line of business. 24 In the United States, the touchstone of economic reality in analyzing possible employment relationships for purposes of the Federal Labor Standards Act is dependency. 25By analogy, the benchmark of economic reality in analyzing possible employment relationships for purposes of the Labor Code ought to be the economic dependence of the worker on his employer. Sonza v. ABS-CBN The existence of an employer-employee relationship is a question of fact. Appellate courts accord the factual findings of the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC not only respect but also finality when supported by substantial evidence.15 Substantial evidence means such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion. Independent contractors often present themselves to possess unique skills, expertise or talent to distinguish them from ordinary employees. The specific selection and hiring of SONZA, because of his unique skills, talent and celebrity status not possessed by ordinary employees, is a circumstance indicative, but not conclusive, of an independent contractual relationship. If SONZA did not possess such unique skills, talent and celebrity status, ABS-CBN would not have entered into the Agreement with SONZA but would have hired him through its personnel department just like any other employee. All the talent fees and benefits paid to SONZA were the result of negotiations that led to the Agreement. If SONZA were ABS-CBNs employee, there would be no need for the parties to stipulate on benefits such as "SSS, Medicare, x x x and 13th month pay"20 which the law automatically incorporates into every employer-employee 21 contract. Whatever benefits SONZA enjoyed arose from contract and not because of an employer-employee relationship.22

SONZAs talent fees, amounting to P317,000 monthly in the second and third year, are so huge and out of the ordinary that they indicate more an independent contractual relationship rather than an employer-employee relationship. ABS-CBN agreed to pay SONZA such huge talent fees precisely because of SONZAs unique skills, talent and celebrity status not possessed by ordinary employees. During the life of the Agreement, ABS-CBN agreed to pay SONZAs talent fees as long as "AGENT and Jay Sonza shall faithfully and completely perform each condition of this Agreement."24 Even if it suffered severe business losses, ABS-CBN could not retrench SONZA because ABS-CBN remained obligated to pay SONZAs talent fees during the life of the Agreement. This circumstance indicates an independent contractual relationship between SONZA and ABS-CBN. We find that ABS-CBN was not involved in the actual performance that produced the finished product of SONZAs work.33 ABS-CBN did not instruct SONZA how to perform his job. ABS-CBN merely reserved the right to modify the program format and airtime schedule "for more effective programming."34 ABS-CBNs sole concern was the quality of the shows and their standing in the ratings. Clearly, ABS-CBN did not exercise control over the means and methods of performance of SONZAs work. In a labor-only contract, there are three parties involved: (1) the "labor-only" contractor; (2) the employee who is ostensibly under the employ of the "labor-only" contractor; and (3) the principal who is deemed the real employer. Under this scheme, the "labor-only" contractor is the agent of the principal. The law makes the principal responsible to the employees of the "labor-only contractor" as if the principal itself directly hired or employed the employees.48 These circumstances are not present in this case. There are essentially only two parties involved under the Agreement, namely, SONZA and ABS-CBN. MJMDC merely acted as SONZAs agent. The Agreement expressly states that MJMDC acted as the "AGENT" of SONZA. The records do not show that MJMDC acted as ABS-CBNs agent. MJMDC, which stands for Mel and Jay Management and Development Corporation, is a corporation organized and owned by SONZA and

TIANGCO. The President and General Manager of MJMDC is SONZA himself. It is absurd to hold that MJMDC, which is owned, controlled, headed and managed by SONZA, acted as agent of ABS-CBN in entering into the Agreement with SONZA, who himself is represented by MJMDC. That would make MJMDC the agent of both ABS-CBN and SONZA. The right of labor to security of tenure as guaranteed in the Constitution53 arises only if there is an employer-employee relationship under labor laws. Not every performance of services for a fee creates an employer-employee relationship. To hold that every person who renders services to another for a fee is an employee - to give meaning to the security of tenure clause - will lead to absurd results. Dumpit-Murillo v. CA Further, the Sonza case is not applicable. In Sonza, the television station did not instruct Sonza how to perform his job. How Sonza delivered his lines, appeared on television, and sounded on radio were outside the television stations control. Sonza had a free hand on what to say or discuss in his shows provided he did not attack the television station or its interests. Clearly, the television station did not exercise control over the means and methods of the performance of Sonzas work.24 In the case at bar, ABC had control over the performance of petitioners work. Noteworthy too, is the comparatively low P28,000 monthly pay of 25 26 petitioner vis the P300,000 a month salary of Sonza, that all the more bolsters the conclusion that petitioner was not in the same situation as Sonza. The duties of petitioner as enumerated in her employment contract indicate that ABC had control over the work of petitioner. Aside from control, ABC also dictated the work assignments and payment of petitioners wages. ABC also had power to dismiss her. All these being present, clearly, there existed an employment relationship between petitioner and ABC. In our view, the requisites for regularity of employment have been met in the instant case. Gleaned from the description of the scope of services aforementioned, petitioners work was necessary or desirable in the usual

business or trade of the employer which includes, as a pre-condition for its enfranchisement, its participation in the governments news and public information dissemination. In addition, her work was continuous for a period of four years. This repeated engagement under contract of hire is indicative of the necessity and desirability of the petitioners work in private respondent ABCs business.34 The contention of the appellate court that the contract was characterized by a valid fixed-period employment is untenable. For such contract to be valid, it should be shown that the fixed period was knowingly and voluntarily agreed upon by the parties. There should have been no force, duress or improper pressure brought to bear upon the employee; neither should there be any other circumstance that vitiates the employees consent.35 It should satisfactorily appear that the employer and the employee dealt with each other on more or less equal terms with no moral dominance being exercised by the employer over the employee.36 Moreover, fixed-term employment will not be considered valid where, from the circumstances, it is apparent that periods have been imposed to preclude acquisition of tenurial security by the employee.37 In the case at bar, it does not appear that the employer and employee dealt with each other on equal terms. Understandably, the petitioner could not object to the terms of her employment contract because she did not want to lose the job that she loved and the workplace that she had grown accustomed to,38 which is exactly what happened when she finally manifested her intention to negotiate. AMWSLAI v. NLRC A lawyer, like any other professional, may very well be an employee of a private corporation or even of the government. It is not unusual for a big corporation to hire a staff of lawyers as its in-house counsel, pay them regular salaries, rank them in its table of organization, and otherwise treat them like its other officers and employees. At the same time, it may also contract with a law firm to act as outside counsel on a retainer basis. The two classes of lawyers often work closely together but one group is made up of employees while the other is not. A similar arrangement may exist as to doctors, nurses, dentists, public relations practitioners and other professionals.

The letter-contract of January 23, 1987, does not contain any stipulation for the separate payment of notarial fees to Salas in addition to his basic salary. On the contrary, it would appear that his notarial services were part of his regular functions and were thus already covered by his monthly compensation. It is true that the notarial fees were paid by membersborrowers of the petitioner for its own account and not of Salas. However, this is not a sufficient basis for his claim to such fees in the absence of any agreement to that effect. Grepalife v. Judico That private respondent Judico was an agent of the petitioner is unquestionable. But, as We have held in Investment Planning Corp. vs. SSS, 21 SCRA 294, an insurance company may have two classes of agents who sell its insurance policies: (1) salaried employees who keep definite hours and work under the control and supervision of the company; and (2) registered representatives who work on commission basis. Applying the aforementioned test to the case at bar, We can readily see that the element of control by the petitioner on Judico was very much present. The record shows that petitioner Judico received a definite minimum amount per week as his wage known as "sales reserve" wherein the failure to maintain the same would bring him back to a beginner's employment with a fixed weekly wage of P 200.00 for thirteen weeks regardless of production. He was assigned a definite place in the office to work on when he is not in the field; and in addition to his canvassing work he was burdened with the job of collection. In both cases he was required to make regular report to the company regarding these duties, and for which an anemic performance would mean a dismissal. On the other hand, an ordinary commission insurance agent works at his own volition or at his own leisure without fear of dismissal from the company and short of committing acts detrimental to the business interest of the company or against the latter, whether he produces or not is of no moment as his salary is based on his production, his anemic performance or even dead result does not become a ground for dismissal. Whereas, in

private respondent's case, the undisputed facts show that he was controlled by petitioner insurance company not only as to the kind of work; the amount of results, the kind of performance but also the power of dismissal. Undoubtedly, private respondent, by nature of his position and work, had been a regular employee of petitioner and is therefore entitled to the protection of the law and could not just be terminated without valid and justifiable cause. Atlanta Industries v. Sebolino First. Based on company operations at the time material to the case, Costales, Almoite, Sebolino and Sagun were already rendering service to the company as employees before they were made to undergo apprenticeship. The company itself recognized the respondents status through relevant operational records in the case of Costales and Almoite, the CPS monthly report for December 200344 which the NLRC relied upon and, for Sebolino and Sagun, the production and work schedule for March 7 to 12, 200545 cited by the CA.

Third. The fact that Costales, Almoite, Sebolino and Sagun were already rendering service to the company when they were made to undergo apprenticeship (as established by the evidence) renders the apprenticeship agreements irrelevant as far as the four are concerned. This reality is highlighted by the CA finding that the respondents occupied positions such as machine operator, scaleman and extruder operator - tasks that are usually necessary and desirable in Atlantas usual business or trade as manufacturer of plastic building materials.57 These tasks and their nature characterized the four as regular employees under Article 280 of the Labor Code. Thus, when they were dismissed without just or authorized cause, without notice, and without the opportunity to be heard, their dismissal was illegal under the law.58 Even if we recognize the companys need to train its employees through apprenticeship, we can only consider the first apprenticeship agreement for the purpose. With the expiration of the first agreement and the retention of

the employees, Atlanta had, to all intents and purposes, recognized the completion of their training and their acquisition of a regular employee status. To foist upon them the second apprenticeship agreement for a second skill which was not even mentioned in the agreement itself,59 is a violation of the Labor Codes implementing rules60 and is an act manifestly unfair to the employees, to say the least. This we cannot allow. Zialcita v. PAL It would be worthwhile to reflect upon and adopt here the rationalization in Zialcita, et al. vs. Philippine Air Lines, 33a decision that emanated from the Office of the President. There, a policy of Philippine Air Lines requiring that prospective flight attendants must be single and that they will be automatically separated from the service once they marry was declared void, it being violative of the clear mandate in Article 136 of the Labor Code with regard to discrimination against married women. Thus: Of first impression is the incompatibility of the respondent's policy or regulation with the codal provision of law. Respondent is resolute in its contention that Article 136 of the Labor Code applies only to women employed in ordinary occupations and that the prohibition against marriage of women engaged in extraordinary occupations, like flight attendants, is fair and reasonable, considering the pecularities of their chosen profession. Sec. 9. The State shall afford protection to labor, promote full employment and equality in employment, ensure equal work opportunities regardless of sex, race, or creed, and regulate the relations between workers and employees. The State shall assure the rights of workers to selforganization, collective bargaining, security of tenure, and just and humane conditions of work . . . . Article 136 is not intended to apply only to women employed in ordinary occupations, or it should have categorically expressed so. The sweeping intendment of the law, be it on special or ordinary occupations, is reflected in the whole text and supported by Article 135 that speaks of nondiscrimination on the employment of women.

PT and T v. De Guzman In the Labor Code, provisions governing the rights of women workers are found in Articles 130 to 138 thereof. Article 130 involves the right against particular kinds of night work while Article 132 ensures the right of women to be provided with facilities and standards which the Secretary of Labor may establish to ensure their health and safety. For purposes of labor and social legislation, a woman working in a nightclub, cocktail lounge, massage clinic, bar or other similar establishments shall be considered as an employee under Article 138. Article 135, on the other hand, recognizes a woman's right against discrimination with respect to terms and conditions of employment on account simply of sex. Finally, and this brings us to the issue at hand, Article 136 explicitly prohibits discrimination merely by reason of the marriage of a female employee. On the other hand, it is recognized that regulation of manpower by the company falls within the so-called management prerogatives, which prescriptions encompass the matter of hiring, supervision of workers, work assignments, working methods and assignments, as well as regulations on the transfer of employees, lay-off of workers, and the discipline, dismissal, and recall of employees. 19 As put in a case, an employer is free to regulate, according to his discretion and best business judgment, all aspects of employment, "from hiring to firing," except in cases of unlawful discrimination or those which may be provided by law. 20 Further, it is not relevant that the rule is not directed against all women but just against married women. And, where the employer discriminates against married women, but not against married men, the variable is sex and the discrimination is unlawful. 36 Upon the other hand, a requirement that a woman employee must remain unmarried could be justified as a "bona fide occupational qualification," or BFOQ, where the particular requirements of the job would justify the same, but not on the ground of a general principle, such as the desirability of spreading work in the workplace. A requirement of that nature would be valid provided it reflects an inherent quality reasonably necessary for satisfactory job performance. Thus, in one case, a no-marriage rule applicable to both male and female

flight attendants, was regarded as unlawful since the restriction was not related to the job performance of the flight attendants. 37 5. Petitioner's policy is not only in derogation of the provisions of Article 136 of the Labor Code on the right of a woman to be free from any kind of stipulation against marriage in connection with her employment, but it likewise assaults good morals and public policy, tending as it does to deprive a woman of the freedom to choose her status, a privilege that by all accounts inheres in the individual as an intangible and inalienable right. 38 Hence, while it is true that the parties to a contract may establish any agreements, terms, and conditions that they may deem convenient, the same should not be contrary to law, morals, good customs, public order, or public policy. 39Carried to its logical consequences, it may even be said that petitioner's policy against legitimate marital bonds would encourage illicit or common-law relations and subvert the sacrament of marriage. Del Monte v. Velasco Art. 137. Prohibited acts. It shall be unlawful for any employer: (1) To deny any woman employee the benefits provided for in this Chapter or to discharge any woman employed by him for the purpose of preventing her from enjoying any of the benefits provided under this Code; (2) To discharge such woman on account of her pregnancy, while on leave or in confinement due to her pregnancy; or (3) To discharge or refuse the admission of such woman upon returning to her work for fear that she may again be pregnant. (Emphasis supplied) Second. The petitioner stresses that many women go through pregnancy and yet manage to submit prior notices to their employer, especially if "there is no evidence on record indicating a condition of such gravity as to preclude efforts at notifying petitioner of her absence from work in series."12 But it must be emphasized that under petitioners company rules, absences may be subsequently justified.13 The Court finds no cogent reason to disturb the findings of the NLRC and the CA that the respondent

was able to subsequently justify her absences in accordance with company rules and policy; that the respondent was pregnant at the time she incurred the absences; that this fact of pregnancy and its related illnesses had been duly proven through substantial evidence; that the respondent attempted to file leaves of absence but the petitioners supervisor refused to receive them; that she could not have filed prior leaves due to her continuing condition; and that the petitioner, in the last analysis, dismissed the respondent on account of her pregnancy, a prohibited act. Third. Petitioners reliance on the jurisprudential rule that the totality of the infractions of an employee may be taken into account to justify the dismissal, is tenuous considering the particular circumstances obtaining in the present case. Petitioner puts much emphasis on respondents "long history" of unauthorized absences committed several years beforehand. However, petitioner cannot use these previous infractions to lay down a pattern of absenteeism or habitual disregard of company rules to justify the dismissal of respondent. The undeniable fact is that during her complained absences in 1994, respondent was pregnant and suffered related illnesses. Again, it must be stressed that respondents discharge by reason of absences caused by her pregnancy is covered by the prohibition under the Labor Code. Since her last string of absences is justifiable and had been subsequently explained, the petitioner had no legal basis in considering these absences together with her prior infractions as gross and habitual neglect. The Court is convinced that the petitioner terminated the services of respondent on account of her pregnancy which justified her absences and, thus, committed a prohibited act rendering the dismissal illegal. Tecson v. Glaxo Glaxo has a right to guard its trade secrets, manufacturing formulas, marketing strategies and other confidential programs and information from competitors, especially so that it and Astra are rival companies in the highly competitive pharmaceutical industry. The prohibition against personal or marital relationships with employees of competitor companies upon Glaxos employees is reasonable under the circumstances because relationships of that nature might compromise the interests of the company. In laying down the assailed company policy,

Glaxo only aims to protect its interests against the possibility that a competitor company will gain access to its secrets and procedures. That Glaxo possesses the right to protect its economic interests cannot be denied. No less than the Constitution recognizes the right of enterprises to adopt and enforce such a policy to protect its right to reasonable returns on investments and to expansion and growth.20 Indeed, while our laws endeavor to give life to the constitutional policy on social justice and the protection of labor, it does not mean that every labor dispute will be decided in favor of the workers. The law also recognizes that management has rights which are also entitled to respect and enforcement in the interest of fair play.21 In any event, from the wordings of the contractual provision and the policy in its employee handbook, it is clear that Glaxo does not impose an absolute prohibition against relationships between its employees and those of competitor companies. Its employees are free to cultivate relationships with and marry persons of their own choosing. What the company merely seeks to avoid is a conflict of interest between the employee and the company that may arise out of such relationships. Star Paper v. Simbol
With more women entering the workforce, employers are also enacting employment policies specifically prohibiting spouses from working for the same company. We note that two types of employment policies involve spouses: policies banning only spouses from working in the same company (no-spouse employment policies), and those banning all immediate family members, including spouses, from working in the same company (anti-nepotism employment policies).18 The requirement that a company policy must be reasonable under the circumstances to qualify as a valid exercise of management prerogative was also at issue in the 1997 case of Philippine Telegraph and Telephone Company v. NLRC.36 In said case, the employee was dismissed in violation of petitioners policy of disqualifying from work any woman worker who contracts marriage. We held that the company policy violates the right against discrimination afforded all women workers under Article 136 of the Labor Code, but established a permissible exception, viz.: [A] requirement that a woman employee must remain unmarried could be justified as a "bona fide occupational qualification," or BFOQ, where the particular requirements of the job would justify the same, but not on the ground of a general principle, such as the desirability of spreading work in the workplace. A requirement of that nature would be valid provided it reflects an inherent quality reasonably necessary for satisfactory job performance.37 (Emphases supplied.) The cases of Duncan and PT&T instruct us that the requirement of reasonableness must be clearly established to uphold the questioned employment policy. The employer has the burden to

prove the existence of a reasonable business necessity. The burden was successfully discharged in Duncan but not in PT&T. Lastly, the absence of a statute expressly prohibiting marital discrimination in our jurisdiction cannot benefit the petitioners. The protection given to labor in our jurisdiction is vast and extensive that we cannot prudently draw inferences from the legislatures silence41 that married persons are not protected under our Constitution and declare valid a policy based on a prejudice or stereotype. Thus, for failure of petitioners to present undisputed proof of a reasonable business necessity, we rule that the questioned policy is an invalid exercise of management prerogative. Corollarily, the issue as to whether respondents Simbol and Comia resigned voluntarily has become moot and academic. As to respondent Estrella, the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC based their ruling on the singular fact that her resignation letter was written in her own handwriting. Both ruled that her resignation was voluntary and thus valid. The respondent court failed to categorically rule whether Estrella voluntarily resigned but ordered that she be reinstated along with Simbol and Comia. Estrella claims that she was pressured to submit a resignation letter because she was in dire need of money. We examined the records of the case and find Estrellas contention to be more in accord with the evidence. While findings of fact by administrative tribunals like the NLRC are generally given not only respect but, at times, finality, this rule admits of exceptions,42 as in the case at bar. Estrella avers that she went back to work on December 21, 1999 but was dismissed due to her alleged immoral conduct. At first, she did not want to sign the termination papers but she was forced to tender her resignation letter in exchange for her thirteenth month pay. The contention of petitioners that Estrella was pressured to resign because she got impregnated by a married man and she could not stand being looked upon or talked about as immoral43 is incredulous. If she really wanted to avoid embarrassment and humiliation, she would not have gone back to work at all. Nor would she have filed a suit for illegal dismissal and pleaded for reinstatement. We have held that in voluntary resignation, the employee is compelled by personal reason(s) to dissociate himself from employment. It is done with the intention of relinquishing an office, accompanied by the act of abandonment. 44 Thus, it is illogical for Estrella to resign and then file a complaint for illegal dismissal. Given the lack of sufficient evidence on the part of petitioners that the resignation was voluntary, Estrellas dismissal is declared illegal.