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UCCI hired Victoriano B. Almores (Victoriano) its Senior Utilities Inspector with a monthly salary of ₱ll,194.00. He then became a member of the United Coconut Chemicals, Inc. Employees' Labor Organization (UELO) until his expulsion sometime in 1995. Due to the expulsion, UELO formally demanded that UCCI terminate the services of the respondent pursuant to the union security clause of the CBA. UCCI dismissed him on February 22, 1996. He then filed a complaint for illegal dismissal in the NLRC. After due proceedings, the Labor Arbiter dismissed his complaint for lack of merit. On appeal, however, the NLRC reversed the Labor Arbiter and held that UCCI liable for illegal dismissal and ordered them to reinstate Victoriano.
UCCI and UELO separately elevated the matter to the CA on certiorari, insisting that the NLRC thereby committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. The CA affirmed the decision of the NLRC, held that UCCI failed to submit the documents providing the details of the benefits granted to its employees from the time when Almores was illegally terminated until his reinstatement.
UCCI submits that the computation for the payment of back wages should conform to established jurisprudence which provides that the base figure to be used in the computation of back wages is pegged at the wage rate at the time of the employee’s dismissal unqualified by deductions, increase and/or modifications granted in the interim.
Whether Almores’ back wages to be received shall exclude benefits granted to his co-employees after his dismissal.
Yes, the Supreme Court agrees with UCCI. The base figure to be used in reckoning full back wages is the salary rate of the employee at the time of his dismissal. The amount does not include the increases or benefits granted during the period of his dismissal because time stood still for him at the precise moment of his termination, and move forward only upon his reinstatement. Hence, Almores should only receive back wages that included the amounts being received by him at the time of his illegal dismissal but not the benefits granted to his co-employees after his dismissal.
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