Universal Robina Sugar Milling v. Acibo (2019)

Universal Robina Sugar Milling Corporation v. Acibo, G.R. No. 186439, 15 January 2019, Brion, J.:

1. Background

• The [Company] maintain[s] that [the Complainants] are contractual or project/seasonal workers and not regular employees of [the Company]. They thus argue that the [Court of Appeals] erred in applying the legal parameters and guidelines for regular employment to the [the Complainants’] case. They contend that the legal standards – length of the employee’s engagement and the desirability or necessity of the employee’s work in the usual trade or business of the employer – apply only to regular employees under paragraph 1, Article 280 [now 295] of the Labor Code, and, under paragraph 2 of the same article, to casual employees who are deemed regular by their length of service.

• The [Complainants], the [Company] point[s] out, were specifically engaged for a fixed and predetermined duration of, on the average, one (1) month at a time that coincides with a particular phase of the company’s business operations or sugar milling season. By the nature of their engagement, [the Complainants’] employment legally ends upon the end of the predetermined period; thus, [the Company] was under no legal obligation to rehire [the Complainants].

• In their comment, [the Complainants] maintain that they are regular employees of [the Company]. Relying on the NLRC and the CA rulings, they point out that they have been continuously working for [the Company] for more than one y...

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