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NORMA MABEZA, petitioner, vs.

NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, PETER


NG/HOTEL SUPREME, respondents
FACTS
Norma Mabeza was an employee hired by Hotel Supreme in Baguio City. In 1991, an
inspection was made by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) at Hotel Supreme
and the DOLE inspectors discovered several violations by the hotel management.
Immediately, the owner of the hotel, Peter Ng, directed his employees to execute an
affidavit which would purport that they have no complaints whatsoever against Hotel
Supreme particularly the latter's compliance with minimum wage and other labor standard
provisions of law. Mabeza signed the affidavit but she refused to certify it with the
prosecutors office.
MABEZAS CONTENTION
That same day, as she refused to go to the City Prosecutors Office, she was ordered by the
hotel management to turn over the keys to her living quarters and to remove her belongings
to the hotels premises. She then filed a leave of absence which was denied by her
employer. She attempted to return to work but the hotels cashier told her that she should
not report to work and instead continue with her unofficial leave of absence.
Three days after her attempt to return to work, she filed a complaint against the
management for illegal dismissal before the Arbitration Branch of the NLRC in Baguio City. In
addition to that, she alleged underpayment of wages, non-payment of holiday pay, service
incentive leave pay, 13th month pay, night differential and other benefits.
NGS CONTENTION
Peter Ng, in their Answer, argued that her unauthorized leave of absence from work is the
ground for her dismissal. He even maintained that her allegation of underpayment and nonpayment of benefits had no legal basis. He raises a new ground of loss of confidence, which
was supported by his filing of criminal case for the alleged qualified theft of the petitioner
(Peter Ng filed a criminal complaint against Mabeza as he alleged that she had stolen a
blanket and some other stuff from the hotel)
LAS DECISION
The Labor Arbiter ruled in favor of the hotel management on the ground of loss of
confidence. She appealed to the NLRC which affirmed the Labor Arbiters decision. Hence,
this petition.
MAIN ISSUE
Whether or not Mabezas certain facilities may be deducted from her wage No.
The labor arbiters contention that the reason for the monetary benefits received by the
petitioner between 1981 to 1987 were less than the minimum wage was because petitioner
did not factor in the meals, lodging, electric consumption and water she received during the
period of computations. Granting that meals and lodging were provided and indeed
constituted facilities, such facilities could not be deducted without the employer complying
first with certain legal requirements. Without satisfying these requirements, the employer
simply cannot deduct the value from the employees wages.
First, proof must be shown that such facilities are customarily furnished by the trade.
Second, the provision of deductible facilities must be voluntary accepted in writing by the
employee. Finally, facilities must be charged at fair and reasonable value. These

requirements were not met in the instant case. Private respondent failed to present any
company policy to show that the meal and lodging are part of the salary. He also failed to
provide proof of the employees written authorization and he failed to show how he arrived
at the valuations. More significantly, the food and lodging, or electricity and water consumed
by the petitioner were not facilities but supplements. A benefit or privilege granted to an
employee for the convenience of the employer is not a facility. The criterion in making a
distinction between the two not so much lies in the kind but the purpose. Considering,
therefore, that hotel workers are required to work on different shifts and are expected to be
available at various odd hours, their ready availability is a necessary matter in the
operations of a small hotel, such as the private respondents hotel.
OTHER ISSUES
Whether or not there is unfair labor practice. Yes
The pivotal question in any case where unfair labor practice on the part of the employer is
alleged is whether or not the employer has exerted pressure, in the form of restraint,
interference or coercion, against his employees right to institute concerted action for better
terms and conditions of employment. Without doubt, the act of compelling employees to
sign an instrument indicating that the employer observed labor standard provisions of the
law when he might not have, together with the act of terminating or coercing those who
refuse to cooperate with the employees scheme constitutes unfair labor practice.
Whether or not there is abandonment. No
Abandonment is not present. Mabeza returned several times to inquire about the status of
her work or her employment status. She even asked for a leave but was not granted. Her
asking for leave is a clear indication that she has no intention to abandon her work with the
hotel. Even the employer knows that his purported reason of dismissing her due to
abandonment will not fly so he amended his reply to indicate that it is actually loss of
confidence that led to Mabezas dismissal.
Whether or not there is loss of confidence as a valid ground for dismissal. No
It is true that loss of confidence is a valid ground to dismiss an employee. But this is ideally
only applied to workers whose positions require a certain level or degree of trust particularly
those who are members of the managerial staff. Evidently, an ordinary chambermaid who
has to sign out for linen and other hotel property from the property custodian each day and
who has to account for each and every towel or bedsheet utilized by the hotels guests at
the end of her shift would not fall under any of these two classes of employees for which loss
of confidence, if ably supported by evidence, would normally apply. Further, the suspicious
filing by Peter Ng of a criminal case against Mabeza long after she initiated her labor
complaint against him hardly warrants serious consideration of loss of confidence as a
ground of Mabezas dismissal.