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considered projects within the purview of the

GMA NETWORK, INC. v. PABRIGA law.


 Jurisprudence abounds with the consistent
FACTS rule that the failure of an employer to report to
On July 1999, due to the miserable working the nearest Public Employment Office the
conditions, private respondents (who were television termination of its workers’ services every time
technicians) were forced to file a complaint against a project or a phase thereof is completed
the petitioner before the NLRC Arbitration Branch in indicates that said workers are not project
Cebu. After receiving a notice of hearing of the employees.
complaint, the petitioner's engineering manager  In the extant case, petitioner should have filed
confronted the private respondents. The latter were as many reports of termination as there were
summoned to the office of the Are Manager, and projects actually finished if private respondents
they were made to explain why they filed the were indeed project employees, considering
complaint. The next day, respondents were barred that the latter were hired and again rehired
from entering and reporting for work without any from 1996 up to 1999. Its failure to submit
notice. reports of termination cannot but sufficiently
 Head of personnel relations admitted non- convince us further that private respondents
payment of benefits but did not mention the are truly regular employees.
request of the respondents to be allowed to The Supreme Court ruled that a project
return to work. employee or a member of a work pool may
 Sent another letter, but their request was still acquire the status of a regular employee when
ignored. the following concur:
 Filed a complaint for unfair labor practice, 1) There is a continuous rehiring of
illegal dismissal, and damages project employees even after cessation
 Futile mandatory conference --> filing of of a project; and
position papers 2) The tasks performed by the alleged
LABOR ARBITER: dismissed complaint for illegal project employee are vital, necessary
dismissal and unfair labor practice but held petitioner and indispensable to the usual business
liable for 13th month pay. or trade of the employer.
APPEAL TO NLRC: reversed decision of the labor
arbiter. SAN MIGUEL CORP. v. NLRC
 All complainants are regular employees with FACTS
respect to the particular activity to which they In November 1990, respondent was hired by
were assigned, until it ceased to exist. petitioner as helper/bricklayer for a specific project,
the repair and upgrading of furnace C at its Manila
ISSUE Glass Plant.
WON the respondents are regular employees  CoE provided that said temporary employment
and not project employees. was for approx. 4 months.
 Respondent was able to complete the repair
RULING and upgrading of furnace C.
YES. Their jobs and undertakings are clearly within o Services were terminated on the same
the regular or usual business of the employer day
company and are not identifiably distinct or separate o Employment contract also ended on that
from the other undertakings of the company. There day
is no denying that the manning of the operations  Was hired again for draining/cooling down of
center to air commercials, acting as transmitter/VTR furnace F and emergency repair of furnace E
men, maintaining the equipment, and acting as for a period of approx. 3 months.
cameramen are not undertakings separate or o After repair, services were terminated
distinct from the business of a broadcasting  Complainant saw in a memorandum posted at
company. the BB as among those who were considered
 Petitioner’s allegation that respondents were dismissed.
merely substitutes or what they call pinch-  After 3 years from the last time he was hired,
hitters (which means that they were employed respondent filed complaint for illegal dismissal.
to take the place of regular employees of LABOR ARBITER: dismissed the case for lack of
petitioner who were absent or on leave) does merit. He was a project employee. The position of a
not change the fact that their jobs cannot be
helper does not fall within the classification of regular sectors by carrying on some of their operations,
employees. Silence of 3 years weakened his claim. governed by service contracts that it enters with
NLRC: reversed decision of the LA. Respondents them.
scheme of subsequently re-hiring complainant after  On 2003, Alltel Comm. Inc. (Alltel) a US based
only ten (10) days from the last day of the expiration telecomm. firm, contracted the former to
of his contract of employment for a specific period, accommodate the needs and demands of the
and giving him again another contract of latter's clients for its postpaid and prepaid
employment for another specific period cannot be services.
countenanced. This is one way of doing violence to  On different dates, Sykes Asia hired petitioners
the employees constitutional right to security of as customer service representatives, team
tenure under which even employees under leaders, and trainers for the Alltel Project.
probationary status are amply protected.  It was going smoothly until Alltel sent 2 letters
to Sykes Asia informing the latter that it was
ISSUE terminating all support services the latter
WON the nature of the employment of private provided.
respondent is that of a project employee o Sykes Asia sent each of the petitioners
end-of-life notices, informing them of
RULING their dismissal from employment due to
YES. Public respondent NLRCs findings that herein the termination of such project
private respondent is a regular employee is o Petitioners filed separate complaints for
erroneous as the latter's employment clearly falls illegal dismissal.
within the definition of project employees under LABOR ARBITER: ruled in favor of the respondents
paragraph 1 of Article 280 of the Labor Code and NLRC: petitioners are regular employees but were
such is a typical example of the second kind of validly terminated due to redundancy. They could
project employment in the ALU-TUCP case not have been project employees because it was
discussed above. made known to petitioners that their employment
 The process of manufacturing glass requires a would be co-terminus to the Alltel Project.
furnace, which has a limited operating life. CA: contract shows that they were hired from such
Petitioner resorted to hiring project or fixed project and that it was specifically stated that their
term employees in having said furnaces employment would be project-based.
repaired since said activity is not regularly
performed. Said furnaces are to be repaired or ISSUE
overhauled only in case of need and after WON petitioners are project employees
being used continuously for a varying period of
five (5) to ten (10) years. RULING
 Clearly, private respondent was hired for a YES. In this case, records reveal that Sykes Asia
specific project that was not within the regular adequately informed petitioners of their employment
business of the corporation. For petitioner is status at the time of their engagement, as evidenced
not engaged in the business of repairing by the latter’s employment contracts which similarly
furnaces. Although the activity was necessary provide that they were hired in connection with the
to enable petitioner to continue manufacturing Alltel Project, and that their positions were "project-
glass, the necessity therefor arose only when based and as such is co-terminus to the project." In
a particular furnace reached the end of its life this light, the CA correctly ruled that petitioners were
or operating cycle. Or, as in the second indeed project-based employees, considering that:
undertaking, when a particular furnace (a) they were hired to carry out a specific
required an emergency repair. In other words, undertaking, i.e., the Alltel Project; and (b) the
the undertakings where private respondent duration and scope of such project were made
was hired primarily as helper/bricklayer have known to them at the time of their engagement, i.e.,
specified goals and purposes which are "co-terminus with the project."
fulfilled once the designated work was  To the mind of the Court, this caveat
completed. sufficiently apprised petitioners that their
security of tenure with Sykes Asia would only
GADIA v. SYKES ASIA last as long as the Alltel Project was subsisting.
FACTS In other words, when the Alltel Project was
Sykes Asia is a corporation engaged in BPO which terminated, petitioners no longer had any
provides support to its int'l clients from various project to work on, and hence, Sykes Asia may
validly terminate them from employment. where petitioner's classes were held; and (c) their
Further, the Court likewise notes the fact that CEAs were contrived to preclude them from
Sykes Asia duly submitted an Establishment obtaining security of tenure.
Employment Report and an Establishment NLRC: NLRC found that Pontesor, et al. cannot be
Termination Report to the Department of Labor considered regular employees as they knowingly
and Employment Makati-Pasay Field Office and voluntarily entered into fixed term contracts of
regarding the cessation of the Alltel Project employment with petitioner. As such, they could not
and the list of employees that would be have been illegally dismissed upon the expiration of
affected by such cessation. their respective last valid and binding fixed term
employment contracts with petitioner. This
UST v. SAMAHANG MANGGAWA NG UST notwithstanding, the NLRC rejected petitioner's
FACTS contention that Pontesor, et al. should be deemed
The instant case stemmed from a complaint for project employees, ratiocinating that their work were
regularization and illegal dismissal filed by not usually necessary and desirable to petitioner's
respondents Samahang Manggagawa ng UST and main business or trade, which is to provide
Pontesor, et al. (respondents) against petitioner elementary, secondary, tertiary, and post-graduate
before the NLRC. Respondents alleged that on education. As such, the NLRC classified Pontesor,
various periods spanning the years 1990-1999, et al. as mere fixed term casual employees.
petitioner repeatedly hired Pontesor, et al. to CA: reinstated LA ruling
perform various maintenance duties within its
campus, i.e., as laborer, mason, tinsmith, painter, ISSUE
electrician, welder, carpenter. Essentially, WON respondents are regular employees.
respondents insisted that in view of Pontesor, et al.'s
performance of such maintenance tasks throughout RULING
the years, they should be deemed regular YES. They are regularized casual employees. In the
employees of petitioner. Respondents further case at bar, a review of Pontesor, et al.'s respective
argued that for as long as petitioner continues to CEAs reveal that petitioner repeatedly rehired them
operate and exist as an educational institution, with for various positions in the nature of maintenance
rooms, buildings, and facilities to maintain, the latter workers, such as laborer, mason, painter, tinsmith,
could not dispense with Pontesor, et al.'s services electrician, carpenter, and welder, for various
which are necessary and desirable to the business periods spanning the years 1990-1999. Akin to the
of petitioner. situation of the employees in Kimberly, Pontesor, et
 On the other hand, while petitioner admitted al.'s nature of work are not necessary and desirable
that it repeatedly hired Pontesor, et al. in to petitioner's usual business as an educational
different capacities throughout the aforesaid institution; hence, removing them from the ambit of
years, it nevertheless maintained that they the first category of regular employees under Article
were merely hired on a per-project basis, as 295 of the Labor Code. Nonetheless, it is clear that
evidenced by numerous Contractual their respective cumulative periods of employment
Employee Appointments (CEAs) signed by as per their respective CEAs each exceed one (1)
them. year. Thus, Pontesor, et al. fall under the second
 In accordance with the express provisions of category of regular employees under Article 295 of
said CEAs, Pontesor, et al.'s project the Labor Code. Accordingly, they should be
employment were automatically terminated: deemed as regular employees but only with respect
(a) upon the expiration of the specific term to the activities for which they were hired and for as
specified in the CEA; (b) when the project is long as such activities exist.
completed ahead of such expiration; or (c) in
cases when their employment was extended
due to the non- completion of the specific HERMA SHIPYARD v. OLIVEROS
project for which they were hired, upon the
completion of the said project. FACTS
LABOR ARBITER: they are regular employees. Herma Shipyard is a domestic corporation engaged
Ordered reinstatement because (a) they have in the business of shipbuilding and repair. The
rendered at least one (1) year of service to petitioner respondents were its employees occupying various
as its employees; (b) the activities for which they positions such as welder, leadman, pipe fitter,
were hired for are vital or inherently indispensable to laborer, helper, etc. They filed before the Regional
the maintenance of the buildings or classrooms Arbitration Branch III a complaint for illegal
dismissal, regularization, and non payment of SIL.
Respondents alleged that they are regular RULING
employees who have been continuously performing The records of this case reveal that for each and
tasks usually necessary and desirable in its every project respondents were hired. They were
business. On various dates, petitioners dismissed adequately informed of their employment status as
them from employment. Respondents alleged that project-based employees at least at the time they
as a condition to their continuous employment, signed their employment contracts. They were fully
petitioners made them sign employment contracts apprised of the nature and scope of their work
for a fixed period ranging from 1 to 4 months to make whenever they affixed their signature to their
it appear that they were project-based employees, employment contract. Their contracts of
but there was never a time when they ceased employment (mostly written in the vernacular)
working for the same due to the expiration of the EC. provide in no uncertain terms that they were hired as
Petitioners never submitted a project completion project-based employees whose services are
report. coterminous with the completion date thereof. They
For their defense, petitioners argued that also contain a provision expressly stating that
respondents were its project-based employees respondents’ employment shall end upon the arrival
in its shipbuilding projects and that the specific of the target completion date or upon the completion
project for which they were hired had already of such project.
been completed, In support thereof, Herma
Shipyard presented contracts of employment, It is settled, however, that project-based employees
some of which are written in the vernacular and may or may not be performing tasks usually
denominated as kasunduang Paglilingkod necessary or desirable in the usual business or trade
(Pang-Proyektong Kawani) of the employer. The fact that the job is usually
LABOR ARBITER: dismissed, they are project- necessary or desirable in the business operation of
based employees. the employer does not automatically imply regular
NLRC: affirmed in toto the decision of the LA. employment; neither does it impair the validity of the
CA: set aside the decision of the labor tribunals. It project employment contract stipulating a fixed
held that even if the contracts of employment duration of employment. Respondents were hired for
indicated that respondents were hired as project- various projects which are distinct, separate, and
based workers, their employment status have identifiable from each other. The rule that employees
become regular since: they were performing tasks initially hired on a temporary basis may become
that are necessary, desirable, and vital to the permanent employees by reason of their length of
operation of petitioners’ business; petitioners failed service is not applicable to project-based
to present proof that respondents were hired for a employees.
specific period or that their employment was
coterminous with specific project; it is not clear from It is significant to note that the corporation does not
the contracts of employment presented that the construct vessels for sale or othe1wise which will
completion or termination of the project or demand continuous productions of ships and will
undertaking was already determined at the time need permanent or regular workers. It merely
petitioners engaged the services of respondents; accepts contracts for shipbuilding or for repair of
respondents were made to work not only in one vessels from third parties and, only, on occasion
project but also in different projects and were when it has work contract of this nature that it hires
assigned to different departments of Herma workers to do the job which, needless to say, lasts
Shipyard; respondents were repeatedly and only for less than a year or longer.
successively rehired as employees of Herma
Shipyard; except with regard to respondent’s last LINGAT v. CCBPI
employment, petitioners failed to represent proof
that they reported to the nearest public employment FACTS
office the termination of respondents’ previous Petitioners were plant drivers, forklift operators,
employment or every time a project or a phase segregators and mixers of respondent Coca- Cola
thereof had been completed; and, petitioners failed Bottlers. Coca- Cola Bottlers was engaged in the
to file as many reports of termination as there were business of manufacturing, distributing, and
shipbuilding and repair projects actually completed, marketing of soft drinks and other beverage
The CA concluded that the project employment products. They continually worked for CCBPI until
contracts were indeed used as a device to their illegal dismissal in 2005.
circumvent respondents’ right to security of tenure.
RULING
They are regular employees. Under the Labor RULING
Code, specifically Article 295 of the Labor Code, as They are regular employees. We agree with
amended and renumbered, a regular employee is a) respondents' contention that where a person has
one that has been engaged to perform tasks rendered at least one year of service, regardless of
USUALLY NECESSARY OR DESIRABLE IN THE the nature of the activity performed, or where the
EMPLOYER’S USUAL BUSINESS OR TRADE- work is continuous or intermittent, the employment
without falling within the category of either a fixed or is considered regular as long as the activity exists,
a project or a seasonal employee; or b) one that has the reason being that a customary appointment is
been engaged for a least one year, whether his or not indispensable before one may be formally
her service is continuous or not, with respect to such declared as having attained regular status.
activity he or she is engaged, and the work of the
employee remains while such activity exists. Additionally, respondents cannot be considered as
Relating petitioners' tasks to the nature of the project or program employees because no evidence
business of Coca- Cola Bottlers -which involved the was presented to show that the duration and scope
manufacture, distribution, and sale of soft drinks and of the project were determined or specified at the
other beverages -it cannot be denied that mixing and time of their engagement. In the case at bar,
segregating as well as loading and bringing of Coca- however, the employer-employee relationship
Cola Bottlers’ products to its customers involved between petitioner and respondents has been
distribution and sale of these items. Simply put, proven. In the selection and engagement of
petitioners' duties were REASONABLY respondents, no peculiar or unique skill, talent or
CONNECTED TO THE VERY BUSINESS of Coca- celebrity status was required from them because
Cola Bottlers. They were indispensable to such they were merely hired through petitioner’s
business because without them the products of personnel department just like any ordinary
Coca- Cola Bottlers would not reach its customers. employee. Respondents did not have the power to
bargain for huge talent fees, a circumstance
ABS-CBN BROADCASTING v. NAZARENO negating independent contractual relationship.
Respondents are highly dependent on the petitioner
FACTS for continued work. The degree of control and
Petitioner employed respondents Nazareno, supervision exercised by petitioner over
Gerzon, Deiparine, and Lerasan as production respondents through its supervisors negates the
assistants (PAs) on different dates. They were allegation that respondents are independent
assigned at the news and public affairs, for various contractors.
radio programs in the Cebu Broasting Station, with a
monthly compensation of P4,000. They were issued The presumption is that when the work done is an
ABS-CBN employees' identification cards and were integral part of the regular business of the employer
required to work for a minimum of eight hours a day, and when the worker, relative to the employer, does
including Sundays and holidays. On December 19, not furnish an independent business or professional
1996, petitioner and the ABS-CBN Rank-and-File service, such work is a regular employment of such
Employees executed a Collective Bargaining employee and not an independent contractor. As
Agreement (CBA) to be effective during the period regular employees, respondents are entitled to the
from December 11, 1996 to December 11, 1999. benefits granted to all other regular employees of
However, since petitioner refused to recognize PAs petitioner under the CBA. Besides, only talent-artists
as part of the bargaining unit, respondents were not were excluded from the CBA and not production
included to the CBA. On October 12, 2000, assistants who are regular employees of the
respondents filed a Complaint for Recognition of respondents. Moreover, under Article 1702 of the
Regular Employment Status, Underpayment of New Civil Code: “In case of doubt, all labor
Overtime Pay, Holiday Pay, Premium Pay, Service legislation and all labor contracts shall be construed
Incentive Pay, Sick Leave Pay, and 13th Month Pay in favor of the safety and decent living of the laborer.”
with Damages against the petitioner before the
NLRC. The Labor Arbiter rendered judgment in ALU-TUCP v. NLRC
favor of the respondents, and declared that they
were regular employees of petitioner as such, they FACTS
were awarded monetary benefits. NLRC affirmed Petitioners plead that they had been employed by
the decision of the Labor Arbiter. Petitioner filed a respondent NSC in connection with its Five Year
motion for reconsideration but CA dismissed it. Expansion Program for varying lengths of time when
they were separated from NSC's service. In 1990 the complainants thereat were refused work in
petitioners filed separate complaints for unfair labor another ETC project.
practice, regularization and monetary benefits with LA: they are regular employees.
the NLRC. The LA held that the petitioners are NLRC: they are not regular employees, but project
regular project employees who shall continue their employees.
employment as such for as long as the activity CA: THEY ARE REGULAR EMPLOYEES.
exists. NLRC modified the LA's decision. They are
indeed project employees but they should not enjoy RULING
the same benefits of regular employees. They are regular employees. It bears to stress at the
outset that ETS admits hiring or employing private
RULING respondents to perform plumbing works for various
They are project employees. It is well established projects. Given this postulate, regular employment
by the facts and evidence on record that herein 13 may reasonably be presumed and it behooves ETS
complainants were hired and engaged for specific to prove otherwise, that is, that the employment in
activities or undertaking the period of which has question was contractual in nature ending upon the
been determined at time of hiring or engagement. It expiration of the term fixed in the contract or for a
is of public knowledge and which this Commission specific project or undertaking. But the categorical
can safely take judicial notice that the expansion finding of the CA, confirmatory for the most part of
program (FAYEP) of respondent NSC consist of that of the labor arbiter, is that not a single written
various phases [of] project components which are contract of employment fixing the terms of
being executed or implemented independently or employment for the duration of the Uniwide project,
simultaneously from each other. or any other project, was submitted by ETS despite
the latter's allegations that private respondents were
In other words, the employment of each "project merely contractual employees.
worker" is dependent and co-terminous with the
completion or termination of the specific activity or The Court can allow that, in the instant case, private
undertaking [for which] he was hired which has been respondents may have initially been hired for
pre-determined at the time of engagement. Since, specific projects or undertaking of petitioner ETS
there is no showing that they (13 complainants) were and, hence, may be classified as project employees.
engaged to perform work-related activities to the Their repeated rehiring to perform tasks necessary
business of respondent which is steel-making, there to the usual trade or business of ETS changed the
is no logical and legal sense of applying to them the legal situation altogether, for in the later instance,
proviso under the second paragraph of Article 280 of their continuous rehiring took them out from the
the Labor Code, as amended. scope of workers coterminus with specific projects
and had made them regular employees. We said as
EQUIPMENT TECHNICAL SERVICES v. CA much in Phesco, Inc. v. NLRC that where the
employment of project employees is extended long
FACTS after the supposed project had been finished, the
Petitioner is primarily engaged in the business of employees are removed from the scope of project
sub-contracting plumbing words of on-going building employees and they shall be considered regular
construction. Among its clients was Uniwide. One of employees.
the petitioners during the time, was a manager of
ETS. ETS hired the services of private respondents Dacuital vs. L.M. Camus Engineering Corp
as pipe fitters, plumbers, or threaders.
 ETS experienced financial difficulties when FACTS
Uniwide failed to pay for the plumbing work Respondent LMCEC is a domestic corporation
being done at its Coastal Mall. Thus, ETS was engaged in construction, engineering, and air-
only able to pay its employees 13th month pay conditioning business, while respondent Camus is
equivalent to two weeks salary. the company president. Petitioners were hired by the
 Unhappy because of ETS' failure to release the respondent as welder, tinsmith, pipefitter, and
balance of their 13th month pay, respondents mechanical employees. From Jan - March 2001,
brought their case before the arbitration branch petitioners were required by LMCEC to surrender
of the NLRC. their identification cards and ATM cards and were
 2 cases were filed against ETS for illegal ordered to execute contracts of employment. Most
dismissal and payment of money claims when petitioners did not comply as they believed that it
was merely a strategy to get rid of petitioners regular
status since they would become new employees entrenched that in illegal dismissal cases, the
disregarding their length of service. They were later employer has the burden of proving with clear,
dismissed from employment. accurate, consistent, and convincing evidence that
 A complaint for illegal dismissal and non- the dismissal was valid. Absent any other proof that
payment of monetary benefits were filed by the project employees were informed of their status
petitioners and other LMCEC employees who as such, it will be presumed that they are regular
were similarly situated. employees.
LA: They are regular, not project employees. This is
because of LMCEC's failure to present evidence FILSYSTEMS v. PUENTE
showing that petitioners contracts of employment
reflected the duration of each project for which they FACTS
were employed and that respondents duly reported Respondent started working with petitioner as an
to the DOLE every termination of employment and installer later promoted to mobile crane operator and
project. was stationed at the company premises. Since his
NLRC: they were indeed illegally dismissed. work was not dependent on any project, his
CA: THEY WERE NOT ILLEGALLY DISMISSED. employment was without interruption for the past 10
They are project employees as their ECs provided years. He was dismissed from his employment
that their respective tenures of employment were allegedly because he was a project employee. He
dependent on the duration of the construction filed a complaint for illegal dismissal against the
projects. petitioner.
LA: dismissed, he is a project employee.
RULING NLRC: affirmed
They are regular employees. Respondents did not CA: reversed LA and NLRC. The employment
present the employment contracts of petitioners contracts signed by petitioner Puente do not have
except that of Dacuital. They explained that it was no the specified duration for each project contrary to the
longer necessary to present the other contracts provision of Article 280 of the Labor Code, nor did
since petitioners were similarly situated. Having petitioner work in the project sites, but had always
presented one contract, respondents believed that been assigned at the company plant attending to the
they sufficiently established petitioners status as maintenance of all mobile cranes of the company,
project employees. performing tasks vital and desirable in the employers
usual business for ten (10) continuous years.
Even though the absence of a written contract does
not by itself grant regular status to petitioners, such
a contract is evidence that petitioners were informed RULING
of the duration and scope of their work and their He is a project employee. In the present case, the
status as project employees. In this case, where no contracts of employment of Puente attest to the fact
other evidence was offered, the absence of the that he was hired for specific projects. His
employment contracts raises a serious question of employment was coterminous with the completion of
whether the employees were properly informed at the projects for which he had been hired. Those
the onset of their employment of their status as contracts expressly provided that his tenure of
project employees. employment depended on the duration of any phase
of the project or on the completion of the
While it is true that respondents presented the construction projects. Furthermore, petitioners
employment contract of Dacuital, the contract does regularly submitted to the labor department reports
not show that he was informed of the nature, as well of the termination of services of project workers.
as the duration of his employment. In fact, the Such compliance with the reportorial requirement
duration of the project for which he was allegedly confirms that respondent was a project employee.
hired was not specified in the contract.
Evidently, although the employment contract did not
It is undisputed that petitioners had individual state a particular date, it did specify that the
employment contracts, yet respondents opted not to termination of the parties employment relationship
present them on the lame excuse that they were was to be on a day certain -- the day when the phase
similarly situated as Dacuital. The non-presentation of work termed Lifting & Hauling of Materials for the
of these contracts gives rise to the presumption that World Finance Plaza project would be completed.
the employees were not informed of the nature and Thus, respondent cannot be considered to have
duration of their employment. It is doctrinally been a regular employee. He was a project
employee. That he was employed with Petitioner employees are removed from the scope of project
Filsystems for ten years in various projects did not employees and considered regular employees.
ipso facto make him a regular employee, Their employments became non-coterminous with
considering that the definition of regular employment specific projects when they started to be
in Article 280 of the Labor Code makes a specific continuously re-hired due to the demands of
exception with respect to project employment. The petitioners business and were re-engaged for many
mere rehiring of respondent on a project-to-project more projects without interruption.
basis did not confer upon him regular employment
status. The practice was dictated by the practical A work pool may exist although the workers in the
consideration that experienced construction workers pool do not receive salaries and are free to seek
are more preferred. It did not change his status as a other employment during temporary breaks in the
project employee. business, provided that the worker shall be available
when called to report for a project. Although primarily
TOMAS LAO CONSTRUCTION v. NLRC applicable to regular seasonal workers, this set-up
can likewise be applied to project workers insofar as
FACTS the effect of temporary cessation of work is
Within the periods of their respective employments, concerned. This is beneficial to both the employer
respondents alternately worked for petitioners. and employee for it prevents the unjust situation of
Under their joint venture agreements, each one of coddling labor at the expense of capital and at the
the three Lao Group of Companies would allow the same time enables the workers to attain the status
utilization of their employees by the other two. Thus, of regular employees. Clearly, the continuous
workers were transferred whenever necessary to rehiring of the same set of employees within the
on-going projects of the same company or of the framework of the Lao Group of Companies is
others, or where rehired after the completion of the strongly indicative that private respondents were an
project or project phase to which they were integral part of a work pool from which petitioners
assigned. Soon only two companies stayed on. In drew its workers for its various projects.
1989 they required all workers and company
personnel to sign EC forms and clearances for audit ABESCO CONSTRUCTION v. RAMIREZ
purposes. To ensure compliance, there was an
order to withhold the salary of any employee who FACTS
refused to sign. The ECs denote that the Petitioner company was engaged in a construction
constructions workers are project employees whose business where respondents were hired on different
employments were for a definite period. dates from 1976 to 1992 either as laborers, road
 Only Gomez signed, the others refused roller operators, painters or drivers.
because they contend that it is a scheme
designed by the employer to downgrade their In 1997, respondents filed two separate complaints
status from regular to project employees. for illegal dismissal against the company and its
 Their salaries where withheld, and were General Manager, Oscar Banzon, before the Labor
required to explain why they should not be Arbiter. Petitioners allegedly dismissed them without
terminated for violating company rules and a valid reason and without due process of law. The
warned that failure to satisfactorily explain complaints also included claims for non-payment of
would be construed as disinterest in continued the 13th month pay, five days’ service incentive
employment with the company. leave pay, premium pay for holidays and rest days,
NLRC RAB VIII (LA): dismissed the complaints, and moral and exemplary damages. The LA later on
they were project employees. ordered the consolidation of the two complaints.
NLRC: reversed. They are regular employees.
 main thrust of petitioners expostulation is that Petitioners denied liability to respondents and
respondents have no valid cause to complain countered that respondents were “project
about their employment contracts since these employees” since their services were necessary
documents merely formalized their status as only when the company had projects to be
project employees. completed. Petitioners argued that, being project
employees, respondents’ employment was
RULING coterminous with the project to which they were
They are regular employees. Where the assigned. They were not regular employees who
employment of project employees is extended long enjoyed security of tenure and entitlement to
after the supposed project has been finished, the separation pay upon termination from work.
specified at the time the employees were engaged
LA: they are regular employees because they for that project.
belonged to a work pool from which the company
drew workers for assignment to different projects at In the case at bar, petitioner worked continuously for
its discretion. more than two years after the supposed three-month
NLRC: affirmed LA decision. duration of his project employment for the NAIA II
CA: dismissed petitioners appeal Project. While his appointment for said project
allowed such extension since it specifically provided
RULING that in case his "services are still needed beyond the
They are regular employees. The principal test for validity of the contract, the Company shall extend his
determining whether employees are project services," there was no subsequent contract or
employees or regular employees is whether they are appointment that specified a particular duration for
assigned to carry out a specific project or the extension. His services were just extended
undertaking, the duration and scope of which are indefinitely until "Personnel Action Form – Project
specified at the time they are engaged for that
project. In this case, petitioners did not have that Employment" dated July 7, 1998 was issued to him
kind of agreement with respondents. Neither did which provided that his employment will end a few
they inform respondents of the nature of the latter's weeks later or on August 4, 1998. While for first three
work at the time of hiring. Hence, for failure of months, petitioner can be considered a project
petitioners to substantiate their claim that employee of PNCC, his employment thereafter,
respondents were project employees, we are when his services were extended without any
constrained to declare them as regular employees. specification of as to the duration, made him a
regular employee of PNCC. And his status as a
regular employee was not affected by the fact that
ROY D. PASOS v. PNCC he was assigned to several other projects and there
were intervals in between said projects since he
FACTS enjoys security of tenure.
Petitioner started working for respondent as Clerk II
and was assigned to the NAIA-II project. It was RAYCOR AIRCONTROL v. SAN PEDRO
stated in his EC that he will be a project employee
for 3 months. If services are needed beyond the FACTS
validity of the contract, the company shall extend the Raycor Aircontrol Systems, Inc. hired Mario San
petitioner's services. Petitioner's employment was Pedro as tinsmithoperator subject to the condition
extended until more than two years later. After being that his employment shall commence “on August 24,
re-employed over and over again, he took a sick 1995 and shall be effective only for the duration of
leave of 60 days because he contracted Koch's the contractat Uniwide LasPiñas after completion of
diseases. After presenting his medical clearance, he which on November 18, 1995, it automatically
was informed that his services were already terminates without necessity of further notice.” As
terminated and he was already replaced due to the the Uniwide Las Piñas project (first project) lasted for
expiration of his contract. He filed a case for illegal one year, Raycor extended respondent's contract
dismissal. beyond November 18, 1995. When this first project
LA: already attained regular status because of was finally completed, Raycor again extended San
repeated hiring and rehiring and that the services he Pedro's employment by assigning him to its Olivarez
made were usual and necessary to PNCC's Plaza, Biñan, Laguna project (second project) until
business. He also had to work on other projects, December 1996. Subsequently, Raycor rehired San
indicating that he is in fact a regular employee. Pedro as ducting man and assigned him to its
NLRC: reversed Cabuyao, Laguna project (third project) until April
CA: dismissed for lack of merit 1997. Thereafter, Raycor transferred San Pedro to
its Llanas, Alabang project (fourth project) and later,
RULING to its Uniwide Coastal project in Baclaran,
He is a regular employee. The principal test used to Paranaque (fifth project). Raycor did not anymore
determine whether employees are project issue new contracts to respondent each time his
employees is whether or not the employees were employment was extended. In a Memorandum
assigned to carry out a specific project or dated October 30, 1997, Raycor declared that the
undertaking, the duration or scope of which was contract of employment of respondent was set to
expire on November 1, 1997, the same to take effect
on November 3, 1997. Thus, when respondent 1 year until one day Flores was told not to report for
reported for work on November 3, 1997, he was work anymore after being asked to sign a paper by
informed by the company timekeeper that he had the HR Head to the effect that he acknowledged the
been terminated. He filed a complaint for illegal completion of his contractual status. The same
dismissal. happened to Malicdem on a later date. Thus, they
LA: he is a regular employee. filed a complaint for illegal dismissal.
NLRC: he is a regular employee LA: there is no illegal dismissal, their employment
CA: he is a regular employee naturally ceased when their contracts expired.
NLRC: same
Ratio of three courts: considered respondent a CA: repeated and successive rehiring of project
regular employee of petitioner because of the employees do not qualify them as regular
existence of a reasonable connection between the employees, as length of service is not the controlling
former's regular activity in relation to the latter's determinant of the employment tenure of a project
business. They based this finding on the employee.
uncontroverted fact that petitioner repeatedly rehired
respondent in five successive projects for 23 RULING
continuous months - nine months in the first project, They are regular employees. In their EC, it was
four months in the second, four months in the third, revealed that there was a stipulated probationary
four months in the fourth, and two months in the fifth period of 6 mos from its commencement. It was
- which repeated rehiring is indicative of the provided therein that in the event that they would be
desirability and indispensability of the activity able to comply with the company's standards and
performed by respondent to the usual business or criteria within such period, they shall be reclassified
trade of petitioner. as project employees with respect to the remaining
period of the effectivity of the contract (par. 3B).
RULING
He is a regular employee. Other than the 1995 Under Article 281 of the Labor Code, however, “an
employment contract it issued to respondent, which employee who is allowed to work after a
contract we have held to be insufficient evidence of probationary period shall be considered a regular
project employment, petitioner utterly failed to employee.” When an employer renews a contract of
adduce additional evidence which would have employment after the lapse of the six–month
convinced us that: 1) each time it hired and rehired probationary period, the employee thereby becomes
respondent, it intended for him to accomplish a regular employee. No employer is allowed to
specific tasks in the particular project to which he determine indefinitely the fitness of its employees.
was assigned; 2) it intended for respondent to carry
out these specific tasks in accordance with the This ruling does not mean that simply because an
project plan it had drawn out and within the limited employee is a project or work pool employee even
time it had to complete the same; and 3) it made outside the construction industry, he is deemed, ipso
such restrictions on each engagement known to jure, a regular employee. All that we hold today is
respondent, and the same were freely accepted by that once a project or work pool employee has been:
him. Petitioner's failure to present such evidence is (1) continuously, as opposed to intermittently, re–
inexcusable, given its access to such documents as hired by the same employer for the same tasks or
project contracts, payment remittances, employment nature of tasks; and (2) these tasks are vital,
records and pay slips. necessary and indispensable to the usual business
or trade of the employer, then the employee must be
MACARTHUR MALICDEM v. MARULAS deemed a regular employee, pursuant to Article 280
INDUSTRIAL CORPORATION of the Labor Code and jurisprudence.

FACTS To begin with, there is no actual project. The only


Malicdem and Flores were first hired by Marulas as stipulations in the contracts were the dates of their
extruder operators in 2006, as shown by their ECs. effectivity, the duties and responsibilities of the
They were responsible for the bagging of filament petitioners as extruder operators, the rights and
yarn, the quality of yarn package and the cleanliness obligations of the parties, and the petitioners’
of the work place area. Their ECs were for a period compensation and allowances. As there was no
of 1 year. Every year thereafter, they would sign a specific project or undertaking to speak of, the
Resig/Quitclaim in favor of Marulas a day after their respondents cannot invoke the exception in Article
contracts ended, and then sign another contract for 280 of the Labor Code.
such control but the reality, understood by
WILLIAM UY CONSTRUCTION v. JORGE construction workers, is that work depended on
TRINIDAD decisions and developments over which
construction companies have no say.
FACTS
Respondent had been working with the petitioner for It has been previously held that that the repeated
16 years since 1988 as driver of its service vehicle, and successive rehiring of project employees do not
dump truck, and transit mixer. He had signed several qualify them as regular employees, as length of
ECs with the company that identified him as a project service is not the controlling determinant of the
employee although he had always been assigned to employment tenure of a project employee, but
work on the one project after another with some whether the employment has been fixed for a
intervals. In 2004, he was terminated because the specific project or undertaking, its completion has
company shut down due to lack of projects. been determined at the time of the engagement of
However, although the same opened up a project in the employee.
Batangas, it did not hire him back for that project.
 Company countered that it was in the In this case, respondent Trinidad's series of
construction business and thus it had to hire employments with petitioner company were co-
and engage the services of project terminous with its projects. When its Boni Serrano-
construction workers, including respondent Katipunan Interchange Project was finished in
Trinidad, whose employments had to be co- December 2004, Trinidad's employment ended with
terminous with the completion of specific it. He was not dismissed. His employment contract
company projects. simply ended with the project for which he had
 Trinidad filed a complaint for illegal dismissal signed up. His employment history belies the claim
and unpaid benefits against petitioner. that he continuously worked for the company.
LA: dismissed illegal dismissal case Intervals or gaps separated one contract from
NLRC: merely affirmed the LA's ruling another.
CA: reversed NLRC ruling. The CA held that,
although respondent Trinidad initially worked as a
project employee, he should be deemed to have BAJARO v. METRO STONERICH CORP
acquired the status of a regular employee since
petitioner company repeatedly rehired him in its past FACTS
35 projects that lasted 16 years. The CA explained In 2008, respondent hired petitioner as a concrete
that Trinidad's work as driver of the company's pump operator, tasked with opening the pouring of
service vehicle, dump truck, and transit mixer was freshly mixed concrete on the former's construction
vital, necessary, and indispensable to the company's projects. Sometime in 2014, while petitioner was
construction business. The intervals between his working at the KCC Mall of Marbel in Koronadal, he
employment contracts were inconsequential since noticed that one of the pipes was filled with concrete.
stoppage in operations at the end of every He lifter the said pipe to empty and clean it. Upon
construction project was a foreseeable interruption lifting, he suddenly felt an excruciating pain on his
of work. thighs and since then, could not longer work
properly. He requested to be taken to the hospital
RULING but he was ignored and was told to go home and
He is merely a project employee. have himself treated. Respondent refused to pay for
his medical expenses. After recovery, he returned to
Generally, length of service provides a fair yardstick work but was informed to return to work the next day.
for determining when an employee initially hired on He was offered money in lieu of his employment. He
a temporary basis becomes a permanent one, did not accept the money. He filed a complaint for
entitled to the security and benefits of regularization. illegal dismissal with the LA.
But this standard will not be fair, if applied to the LA: dismissed complaint, held that he was a project
construction industry, simply because construction employee as evidenced by the ECs he signed each
firms cannot guarantee work and funding for its time he was engaged by Metro Stonerich. His
payrolls beyond the life of each project. And getting employment was coterminous with each project.
projects is not a matter of course. Construction NLRC: echoed the ruling of the LA.
companies have no control over the decisions and CA: CA agreed with NLRC
resources of project proponents or owners. There is
no construction company that does not wish it has RULING
Bajaro is a project employee of Metro Stonerich. renewed each time they fell due; and (3) Alcatel did
not report the termination of the projects with the
In this case, it is undisputed that Bajaro was nearest public employment office.
adequately informed of his employment status (as a
project employee) at the time of his engagement. RULING
This is clearly substantiated by his employment He is a project employee. While respondent
contracts (Kasunduan Para sa Katungkulang performed tasks that were clearly vital, necessary
Serbisyo (Pamproyekto), stating that: (i) he was and indispensable to the usual business or trade of
hired as a project employee; and (ii) his employment Alcatel, respondent was not continuously rehired by
was for the indicated stmiing dates therein, and will Alcatel after the cessation of every project. Records
end on the completion of the project. The said show that respondent was hired by Alcatel from
contracts that he signed sufficiently apprised him 1988 to 1995 for three projects, namely the PLDT X-
that his security of tenure with Metro Stonerich would 5 project, the PLDT X-4 IOT project and the PLDT
only last as long as the specific phase for which he 1342 project. On 30 April 1988, upon the expiration
was assigned. In fact, the target date of completion of respondent's contract for the PLDT X-4 IOT
was even indicated in each individual contract project, Alcatel did not rehire respondent until 1
clearly warning him of the period of his employment. February 1991, or after a lapse of 33 months, for the
PLDT 1342 project. Alcatel's continuous rehiring of
respondent in various capacities from February
ALCATEL PHILIPPINES v. RELOS 1991 to December 1995 was done entirely within the
framework of one and the same project. The
FACTS employment of a project employee ends on the date
In 1988, Alcatel offered respondent "temporary specified in the employment contract. Therefore,
employment as Estimator/Draftsman" to assist in the respondent was not illegally dismissed but his
preparation of manholes and conduit design for a employment terminated upon the expiration of his
specific project. The same was offered to employment contract. Here, Alcatel employed
respondent multiple times, and on 1995, Alcatel respondent as a Site Inspector until 31 December
informed respondent that the project would be 1995.
completed on Dec. 31, 1995 and that his contract
would expire on the same day. Alcatel asked
respondent to settle all his accountabilities with the CHERRY PRICE v. INNODATA PHILS
company and advised him that he would be called if
it has future projects that require his expertise. He FACTS
filed a complaint for illegal dismissal, among others. Petitioners were employed as formatters by
LA: respondent is a regular employee of Alcatel, INNODATA. The parties executed an EC stipulating
respondent performed functions that were that the contract shall be for a period of one year.
necessary and desirable in the usual business or During their employment as formatters, petitioners
trade of Alcatel. The Labor Arbiter concluded that were assigned to handle jobs for various clients of
respondent belonged to the "work pool of non- INNODATA, among which were CAS, Retro,
project employees" of Alcatel. Meridian, Adobe, Netlib, PSM, and Earthweb. Once
NLRC: reversed the LA and dismissed complaint for they finished the job for one client, they were
illegal dismissal. The NLRC said respondent was immediately assigned to do a new job for another
assigned to carry out a specific project or client. According to INNODATA, petitioners’
undertaking and the duration of his services was employment already ceased due to the end of their
always stated in his employment contracts. The contract. Petitioners filed a complaint for illegal
NLRC also pointed out that, by the nature of Alcatel's dismissal and damages against respondents.
business, respondent would remain a project LA: they were illegally dismissed. They should be
employee regardless of the number of projects for considered as regular employees because they
which he had been employed. occupied jobs which were necessary, desirable, and
CA: reinstated the LA's decision. Respondent was a indispensable.
regular employee of Alcatel because (1) respondent NLRC: reversed LA decision. The NLRC found that
was assigned to positions and performed tasks that petitioners were not regular employees, but were
were necessary to the main line and business fixed-term employees as stipulated in their
operations of Alcatel; (2) respondent was repeatedly respective contracts of employment.
hired and contracted, continuously and for CA: they are fixed term employees. Petitioners
prolonged periods, with his employment contracts admitted entering into contracts of employment with
INNODATA for a term of only one year and for a necessary in the business or trade of INNODATA.
project called Earthweb. According to the Court of Hence, the total period of their employment
Appeals, there was no showing that petitioners becomes irrelevant.
entered into the fixed-term contracts unknowingly
and involuntarily, or because INNODATA applied
force, duress or improper pressure on them. The OLONGAPO MAINTENANCE SERVICES v.
appellate court also observed that INNODATA and CHANTENGO
petitioners dealt with each other on more or less
equal terms, with no moral dominance exercised by FACTS
the former on latter. In fixed-term contracts, the OMSI is a corporation engaged in the business of
stipulated period of employment is governing and providing janitorial and maintenance services to
not the nature thereof. Consequently, even though various clients, including government-owned and
petitioners were performing functions that are controlled corporations. On various dates beginning
necessary or desirable in the usual business or trade 1986, OMSI hired the respondents as janitors, grass
of the employer, petitioners did not become regular cutters, and degreasers, and assigned them at
employees because their employment was for a NAIA. On 1999, MSI terminated respondents'
fixed term, which began on 16 February 1999 and employment. They filed a complaint for illegal
was predetermined to end on 16 February 2000. dismissal among others against OMSI.
LA: dismissed the complaint.
RULING NLRC: NLRC denied the motion.
They are regular employees. While this Court has CA: reversed the decision of the NLRC
recognized the validity of fixed-term employment
contracts, it has consistently held that this is the RULING
exception rather than the general rule. More They are regular, not project employees.
importantly, a fixed-term employment is valid only
under certain circumstances. In its oft-quoted In the instant case, the record is bereft of proof that
decision in Brent, also issued a stern admonition that the respondents' engagement as project employees
where, from the circumstances, it is apparent that has been predetermined, as required by law. We
the period was imposed to preclude the acquisition agree with the Court of Appeals that OMSI did not
of tenurial security by the employee, then it should provide convincing evidence that respondents were
be struck down as being contrary to law, morals, informed that they were to be assigned to a "specific
good customs, public order and public policy. project or undertaking" when OMSI hired them.
Notably, the employment contracts for the specific
The contracts of employment submitted by project signed by the respondents were never
respondents are highly suspect for not only being presented. All that OMSI submitted in the
ambiguous, but also for appearing to be tampered proceedings a quo are the service contracts
with. The Court notes that the attempt to change the between OMSI and the MIAA. Clearly, OMSI utterly
beginning date of effectivity of petitioners’ contracts failed to establish by substantial evidence that,
was very crudely done. The alterations are very indeed, respondents were project employees and
obvious, and they have not been initialed by the their employment was coterminous with the MIAA
petitioners to indicate their assent to the same. If the contract.
contracts were truly fixed-term contracts, then a
change in the term or period agreed upon is material
and would already constitute a novation of the
original contract.

Obviously, respondents wanted to make it appear


that petitioners worked for INNODATA for a period
of less than one year. The only reason the Court can
discern from such a move on respondents’ part is so
that they can preclude petitioners from acquiring
regular status based on their employment for one
year. Nonetheless, the Court emphasizes that it has
already found that petitioners should be considered
regular employees of INNODATA by the nature of
the work they performed as formatters, which was