L2. Digest.docx - ATLAS FARMS INC petitioner vs NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION JAIME O DELA PEA and MARCIAL I ABION respondents[G.R No 142244 FACTS

L2. Digest.docx - ATLAS FARMS INC petitioner vs NATIONAL...

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ATLAS FARMS, INC., petitioner, vs. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, JAIME O. DELA PEA and MARCIAL I. ABION, respondents . [G.R. No. 142244. November 18, 2002] FACTS: Private respondent Jaime O. dela Pea was employed as a veterinary aide by petitioner, Atlas Farms, Inc. He was among several employees terminated and was re-hired by petitioner and given the additional job of feedmill operator, where he train selected workers to operate the feedmill. The farm manager of petitioner suddenly issued a formal notice directing him to explain within 24 hours why disciplinary action should not be taken against him for violating company rules and regulations. Pea was allegedly caught urinating and defecating on company premises not intended for the purpose. Pea refused, however, to receive the formal notice. He never bothered to explain, either verbally or in writing Thus, a notice of termination with payment of his monetary benefits was sent to him. He duly acknowledged receipt of his separation pay. In the case of co-respondent Marcial I. Abion, the latter was a carpenter/mason and a maintenance man whose. Allegedly, he caused the clogging of the fishpond drainage resulting in damages worth several hundred thousand pesos when he improperly disposed of the cut grass and other waste materials into the ponds drainage system. Petitioner also sent a written notice to Abion, requiring him to explain what happened, otherwise, disciplinary action would be taken against him. Like Pea, Marcial refused to receive the notice and give an explanation. Consequently, the company terminated his services. He acknowledged receipt of a written notice of dismissal, with his separation pay. Pea and Abion filed separate complaints for illegal dismissal that were later consolidated. Both claimed that their termination from service was due to petitioners suspicion that they were the leaders in a plan to form a union to compete and replace the existing management- dominated union. The labor arbiter dismissed their complaints on the ground that the grievance machinery in the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) had not yet been exhausted. Private respondents availed of the grievance
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process, but later on refiled the case before the NLRC in Region IV. They alleged lack of sympathy on petitioners part to engage in conciliation proceedings. Their cases were consolidated in the NLRC. At the initial mandatory conference, petitioner filed a motion to dismiss, on the ground of lack of jurisdiction, alleging private respondents themselves admitted that they were members of the employees union with which petitioner had an existing CBA. This being the case, according to petitioner, jurisdiction over the case belonged to the grievance machinery and thereafter the voluntary arbitrator, as provided in the CBA.
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