A LABOR group on Sunday said a Supreme Court (SC) decision in favor of delivery riders who were dismissed by Lazada E-Services Philippines, Inc. upholds the right of security of tenure.
“In this historic case, the SC Second Division has once again put flesh and blood to the constitutional provision of protection to labor and upholds the fundamental right of workers to a regular job,” the Federation of Free Workers (FFW) said in a statement.
The ruling, signed Sept. 21 last year and made public on Jan. 19, stems from a case filed by five riders in 2017 before the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) after the company stopped giving them delivery assignments.
The High Court reversed the decisions of the NLRC and the Court of Appeals, which ruled that there was no employer-employee relationship between the riders and Lazada.
In a statement on Friday, the SC said it ordered the e-commerce platform to reinstate the riders as they were not “independent contractors” since their work did not require a special skill or talent.
Lazada was also ordered to pay the riders their full back wages from the time of dismissal up to the time of actual reinstatement.
“When the status of the employment is in dispute, the employer bears the burden to prove that the workers are independent contractors rather than regular employees,” SC Senior Associate Justice Marvic M.V.F Leonen said in the ruling.
“The SC made it clear that the protection to labor and the guarantee of the right security of tenure are not mere embellishments in a parchment that can be ignored like wallpapers on the wall. They are fundamental rights that should be enjoyed by workers in real life,” the FFW said.
The decision can be appealed before the SC en banc. — John Victor D. Ordoñez