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14 Coca-Cola Export Corp. v. Gacayna

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  1 Labor 1   4.1 Social Justice vis-a-vis Management Prerogative   Fontanilla | A2022 7 August 2019   The Coca-Cola Export Corporation v. Gacayan June 22, 2011 | J. Tinga Petitioner: The Coca-Cola Export Corp.  Respondent: Clarita P. Gacayan Doctrine:  While the Constitution is committed to the policy of social justice and the protection of the working class, it should not be expected that every labor dispute will be automatically decided in favor of labor. Management also has its own rights which, as such, are entitled to respect and enforcement in the interest of simple fair play. FACTS   ●  Gacayan is a Senior Financial Accountant of Coca-Cola. As an employee, one of the benefits she enjoyed was the reimbursement of her meal and transportation expenses incurred while rendering overtime work, for a maximum of 150 pesos. ●   Gacayan was made to explain three (3) altered McDonald’s and Shakey’s receipts she submitted. Gacayan denied having any personal knowledge in the commission of alterations on the receipts. ●  Coca-Cola conducted a hearing and formal explanation on the matter, but Gacayan only attended the first hearing and complained of the alleged partiality of the investigating committee. Finally, Coca-Cola dismissed the respondent for fraudulently submitting the tampered/altered receipts in gross violation of the Company’s rules and regulations.   ●  Gacayan filed a complaint for illegal dismissal, with prayer for reinstatement. The Labor Arbiter (LA) and NLRC ruled in favor of Coca-cola. However, the CA reversed their decisions. The CA ruled that the penalty of dismissal imposed on respondent was too harsh. ISSUES + HELD JUNE 22, 2011 CASE (MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION) W/N Gacayan was illegally dismissed —  YES ●   Gacayan’s position as Senior Financial Accountant  has duties which qualify her as one occupying a position of trust and confidence. She handled confidential matters in the financial analyses and evaluations of the action plans and strategies of Coca-Cola. ●  Gacayan intentionally, knowingly, purposely, and without justifiable excuse, submitted tampered or altered receipts to support her claim for meal reimbursement. Even though the amounts are small or only the dates or items in the receipts were tampered with, her act of submitting fraudulent items of expense adversely reflected on her integrity and honesty, which is ample basis for petitioner company to lose its trust and confidence in her. ●  To allow respondent Gacayan to be reinstated to her former position with payment of backwages would tend rather to reward dishonesty and ennoble breach of trust by employees to the prejudice of the employer. ●  While the Constitution is committed to the policy of social justice and the protection of the working class, it should not be expected that every labor dispute will be automatically decided in favor of labor. Management also has its own rights which, as such, are entitled to respect and enforcement in the interest of simple fair play.   2011 RULING: Motion for reconsideration GRANTED. 2010 decision reconsidered.   DEC. 15, 2010 CASE [MAIN] W/N courts interfere with the management prerogative exercised by Coca-Cola? —  YES ●   The employer’s right to conduct the affairs of its business, according to its own discretion and  judgment, is well-recognized. An employer has a free reign and enjoys wide latitude of discretion to regulate all aspects of employment, including the prerogative to instill discipline on, impose penalties upon, and dismiss erring employees. ●  The only criterion to guide the exercise such management prerogative is that the policies, rules and regulations on work-related activities of the employees must always be fair and reasonable  2 Labor 1   4.1 Social Justice vis-a-vis Management Prerogative   Fontanilla | A2022 7 August 2019  and the corresponding penalties, when prescribed, commensurate to the offense involved and to the degree of the infraction. ●   In the instant case, petitioner alleged that under its rules and regulations, respondent’s submission of fraudulent items of expense is punishable by dismissal. However, petitioner’s rules cannot preclude the State from inquiring whether the strict and rigid application or interpretation thereof would be harsh to the employee.  Even when an employee is found to have transgressed the employer’s rules, in the actual imposition of penalties upon the erring employee, due consideration must still be given to his length of service and the number of violations committed during his employ. 2010 RULING: Petition was DENIED. Coca-Cola was ordered to reinstate Gacayan and to pay her backwages.   SUPERDIGEST ENTRY Trigger Words: Coca- Cola, tampered receipts, Shakey’s and McDo  Facts: Respondent was dismissed for fraudulently altering the receipts she submitted to Coca-Cola for reimbursement. Coca-Cola wants the Court to reconsider its ruling in the 2010 case, where they ruled for the Respondent. They argue that Gacayan’s actions constitute a breach of the trust and confidence reposed by the company to her as Senior Financial Accountant. Doctrine: While the Constitution is committed to the policy of social justice and the protection of the working class, it should not be expected that every labor dispute will be automatically decided in favor of labor. Management also has its own rights which, as such, are entitled to respect and enforcement in the interest of simple fair play. Ruling: Motion for reconsideration GRANTED. Relevant Provisions:
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