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Panuncillo was dismissed from her position as Office Senior Clerk under respondent for violating Section 8.4 of respondent’s Code of Discipline, reading: Committing or dealing any act or conniving with co-employees or anybody to defraud the company or customer/sales associates.
Petitioner sought reconsideration of her dismissal, imploring her request to avail of the retirement benefit of respondent company, which was later denied. Petitioner thus filed a complaint for illegal dismissal, 13th month pay, service incentive leave pay, damages and attorney’s fees against respondent.
As a result, the Labor Arbiter ordered the reinstatement of petitioner to a position one rank lower than her previous position and directed the respondent to pay complainant’s 13th Month pay and Service Incentive Leave Pay for 1999. On appeal, however, the NLRC reversed the decision of the Labor Arbiter, finding that petitioner’s dismissal was illegal and accordingly ordering her reinstatement to her former position without loss of seniority rights, with full backwages, and with other benefits and payments for damages. Further, the complainant’s Motion to Declare Respondent in Contempt dated May 3, 2000 is denied and rendered moot while all other claims are dismissed for lack of merit.
CAP challenged the NLRC Decision before the CA via Petition for Certiorari. On May 16, 2003, the CA reversed the NLRC Decision and held that the dismissal was valid and that respondent complied with the procedural requirements of due process before petitioner’s services were terminated. Hence, the present petition, petitioner faulting the appellate court.
Whether or not it is still obligatory on the part of an employer to reinstate and pay the wages of a dismissed employee during the period of appeal.
Yes. The Court reiterates the rule that technicalities have no room in labor cases where the Rules of Court are applied only in a suppletory manner and only to effectuate the objectives of the Labor Code and not to defeat them.
Hence, even if the order of reinstatement of the Labor Arbiter is reversed on appeal, it is obligatory on the part of the employer to reinstate and pay the wages of the dismissed employee during the period of appeal until reversal by the higher court. On the other hand, if the employee has been reinstated during the appeal period and such reinstatement order is reversed with finality, the employee is not required to reimburse whatever salary he received for he is entitled to such, more so if he actually rendered services during the period.