Thursday, June 15, 2006

The appeal that is not an appeal (Is it time to abolish the NLRC? Part 5)

The time has come to abolish the NLRC. This is the thesis of this series, and today I will discuss the unfair appeal process of the NLRC and its effect.

The NLRC Rules of Procedure provides that when a labor arbiter decides in
favor of an employee, i.e., there is a ruling that the dismissal of an employee is illegal, the decision is immediately executory. The employer may appeal the ruling before the National Labor Relations Commission, but regardless of the appeal, the employee should be reinstated to his employment. If the employer does not like to reinstate the employee, the employer may reinstate the employee only in the payroll. This means that the employee will get paid even if he does not report for work.

As an employer myself of a small enterprise this rule is one of the toughest rule to accept. It is bad enough that an employer has to employ somebody he dislikes; it is worse if the employer is forced to pay the employee for not working at all – and this because a labor arbiter said so. The labor arbiter is not impeccable, he makes errors of judgment like every ordinary person.

But with the rules of appeal making the decisions of the labor arbiter executory pending appeal, the labor arbiter's word is law. The value of the appeal process to the employer is negated, because the employer is forced to follow the decision of the labor arbiter even if the decision is not yet final.

Thus, in view of the crucial role of the labor arbiter in the labor dispute, the labor arbiter is the prime target for corruption and influence peddlers. I will have a separate post on corruption in the NLRC in the next few days, but here what I am trying to show is that because of the worthless appeal process, the labor arbiters are the strongest target for corruption. The key question is, can we expect the labor arbiters not to be corrupted?

(To be continued)

1 comment:

Major Tom said...

In my readings, I have really observed or napansin ko talaga na our labor laws is a creation of the Marcos years, its a Presidential Decree and maybe, as rumours say, it might be a law where only one man have conceptualized and frame it, that is, the former president by his lonesome. Because of this, I had many complaints about the way it was prepared especially about the many so-called "funds" that it instituted, like funds there and special funds here. I think, masyado namang mahilig sa funds ang law na to. Something must be wrong with it.

I think you are right. Even the Labor Law itself must be rehashed and reinvigorated from its present form.