Labor Law

Calamba Medical Center, Inc. vs National Labor Relations Commission

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G.R. No. 176484 – 571 SCRA 585 – Labor Law – Labor Relations – Labor Standards – Strike – Managerial Employees – Power of Control – Illegal Dismissal

Ronaldo Lanzanas and Merceditha Lanzanas are doctors employed by Calamba Medical Center, Inc. They are given a retainer’s fee by the hospital as well as shares from fees obtained from patients.

One time, Ronaldo was overheard by Dr. Trinidad talking to another doctor about how low the admission rate to the hospital. That conversation was reported to Dr. Desipeda who was then the Medical Director of the hospital.

Eventually Ronaldo was suspended. Ronaldo filed a case for Illegal Suspension in March 1998. In the same month, the rank and file employees organized a strike against the hospital for unfair labor practices. Desipeda eventually fired Ronaldo for his alleged participation in the strike, which is not allowed under the Labor Code for he is a managerial employee. Desipeda also fired Merceditha on the ground that she is the wife of Ronaldo who naturally sympathizes with him.

The Labor Arbiter ruled that there was no Illegal Suspension for there was no employer-employee relationship because the hospital has no control over Ronaldo as he is a doctor who even gets shares from the hospitals earnings.

The National Labor Relations Commission as well as the Court of Appeals reversed the LA.

ISSUE: Whether or not there is an employer-employee relationship?

HELD: Yes. Under the control test, an employment relationship exists between a physician and a hospital if the hospital controls both the means and the details of the process by which the physician is to accomplish his task. There is control in this case because of the fact that Desipeda schedules the hours of work for Ronaldo and his wife.

The doctors are also registered by the hospital under the SSS which is premised on an employer-employee relationship.

There is Illegal Dismissal committed against Rolando for there was no notice and hearing held. It was never shown that Rolando joined the strike. But even if he did, he has the right to do so for he is not a part of the managerial or supervisory employees. As a doctor, their decisions are still subject to revocation or revision by Desipeda.

There is Illegal Dismissal committed against Merceditha for the ground therefor was not mentioned in Article 282 of the Labor Code.

When is Control (One of the Four Tests of Employer-Employee Relationship) Absent?

Where a person who works for another does so more or less at his own pleasure and is not subject to definite hours or conditions of work, and is compensated according to the result of his efforts and not the amount thereof, the element of control is absent.

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