CA rules against EDSA Shangri-La in illegal dismissal case

THE Court of Appeals (CA) has ruled in favor of an EDSA Shangri-La Hotel laundry attendant who filed an illegal dismissal complaint against the establishment in 2016.

The appellate court decision affirmed a resolution by a 2021 National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) which ordered the hotel to reinstate Mark Darwin L. Abitria with full back pay amounting to P161,361.20 plus legal fees.

In an 11-page decision on Oct. 26, the CA Tenth Division said the NLRC did not abuse its discretion when it ruled in favor of the worker.

“The burden of proof to show grave abuse of discretion is on the petitioner (EDSA Shangri-La), who must demonstrate, plainly and distinctly, all facts essential to establish his/her right to a writ of certiorari,” Associate Justice Ramon A. Cruz said in the ruling.

The magistrate added that an NLRC decision is final and not appealable unless there is an abuse of discretion.

The hotel had contended that Mr. Abitria was a project-based employee, which the NLRC did not sustain.

EDSA Shangri-La also claimed that it was never served a summons in regard to the illegal dismissal proceeding.

“The hotel address, which is not being disputed by the appellant (EDSA Shangri-La), is clearly stated in the summons and notices which were properly delivered by the duly authorized courier of the commission (NLRC),” the court said.

It added that the hotel failed to provide proof that it did not receive the NLRC’s summons and notices.

“When the court reviews an NLRC decision, it is necessarily limited to the question of whether the NLRC acted arbitrarily, whimsically, or capriciously, in the sense that grave abuse of discretion is understood under the law, the rules, and jurisprudence,” the court said. — John Victor D. Ordoñez