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A.C. RANSOM LABOR UNION vs. NLRC, A.C.

AUTHOR: CHA
RANSOM PHILS. CORP., RUBEN HERNANDEZ ET. NOTES:
AL. [G.R. No. L-69494, June 10, 1986] Article 265 of the LC: Any worker whose employment has
been terminated as a consequence of an unlawful lockout
TOPIC: Definition: Employer & Employee shall be entitled to reinstatement with full back wages.
PONENTE: Melencio-Herrera - Article 273 of the LC: Any person violating any of the
provisions of Article 265 of this Code shall be punished by
a fine of not exceeding five hundred pesos and/or
imprisonment for not less than one (1) day nor more than
six (6) months.
FACTS:
- A. C. RANSOM (Phils.) Corp. (RANSOM), was established in 1933 by Maximo Hernandez Sr. It was a family
corporation so stockholders are members of Hernandez family and engaged in manufacture mainly of ink and articles
related to ink.
- In 1961, employees of RANSOM, most members of herein petitioner UNION, went on strike and established a picket
line. When it was lifted, most were allowed to resume to work except for the 22 workers, which the Company refused to
reinstate.
- In 1969, Hernandez family organized Rosario Industrial Corp. (ROSARIO) in same compound and nature of business
with RANSOM. In 1972, the Court of Industrial Relations ordered RANSOM, its officers and agents to reinstate the 22
workers, but in 1973, RANSOM applied for clearance to close, which was granted by the Ministry of Labor and
Employment without prejudice to the right of employees to seek redress of grievance.
- In 1974, backwages of the 22 workers were computed (164K) so petitioner UNION filed motions for execution (up to 10
motions) but could not be implemented for failure to find leviable assets of RANSOM.
- Hence, last Motion of Execution filed asked its officers and agents to be held personally liable for the payment of
backwages. LA (GENILO ORDER) granted and ordered 7 officers and directors of the Company liable (herein private
respondents). NLRC affirmed LA with modification that in absence of proof that the officers exceeded their authority, writ
of execution cannot be enforced against them. Hence, this petition.
ISSUE: WON the judgment against the Corporation to reinstate employees with backwages enforceable against its agents
and officers in their individual, private and personal capacities?

HELD: YES. Court set aside NLRC ruling and reinstated GENILO ORDER with modification that personal liability for
the backwages of the 22 strikers be limited to Ruben Hernandez (President of RANSOM in 1974), jointly and severally
with other Presidents of RANSOM from 1972 up to the time corporate life was terminated.
RATIO:
- If the employer is a corporation, Article 212 (c) of the Labor Code provides: 'Employer includes any person acting in
the interest of an employer directly or indirectly. The term shall not include any labor organization or any of its
officers or agents except when acting as employer.
- Since RANSOM is an artificial person, it must have an officer who can be presumed to be the employer, being the
"person acting in the interest of employer". The responsible officer of an employer corporation can be held
personally, not to say even criminally, liable for non-payment of back wages, which is provided in the Minimum
Wage Law, Section 15(b): If any violation of this Act is committed by a corporation, trust, partnership or
association, the manager or in his default, the person acting as such when the violation took place, shall be
responsible. In the case of a government corporation, the managing head shall be made responsible, except when
shown that the violation was due to an act or commission of some other person, over whom he has no control, in
which case the latter shall be held responsible.
- In PD 525, where a corporation fails to pay the emergency allowance therein provided, the prescribed penalty "shall
be imposed upon the guilty officer or officers" of the corporation.
- The record does not clearly Identify "the officer or officers" of RANSOM directly responsible for failure to pay the back
wages of the 22 strikers. In the absence of definite proof in that regard, we believe it should be presumed that the
responsible officer is the President of the corporation who can be deemed the chief operation officer thereof. Thus, in
RA 602, criminal responsibility is with the "Manager" or in his default, the person acting as such. In RANSOM, the
President appears to be the Manager.
- Since non-payment of the back wages of the 22 strikers has been a continuing situation, personal liability of the
RANSOM President, at the time the back wages were ordered should also be a continuing joint and several personal
liabilities of all who may have thereafter succeeded to the office of president. Otherwise, the 22 strikers may be deprived
of their rights by the election of a president without leviable assets.
CASE LAW/ DOCTRINE:
DISSENTING/CONCURRING OPINION(S):