Can Employees File a Labor Case with the Barangay Captain?Atty Elvin
For ordinary employees living on daily wages, filing of labor case against the company can impact of their budget as they need to pay for transportation and all other incidental expenses in going to DOLE/NLRC offices.
Can they instead file a case with the Barangay as it is near the place where they work?
Can the Barangay Captain compel the employer to participate in the proceeding?
Under Section 408 of the Local Government Code, the Lupon shall have authority to bring together the parties actually residing in the same city or municipality for amicable settlement of all disputes except:
(a) Where one party is the government, or any subdivision or instrumentality thereof;
(b) Where one party is a public officer or employee, and the dispute relates to the performance of his official functions;
(c) Offenses punishable by imprisonment exceeding one (1) year or a fine exceeding Five thousand pesos (Php5,000.00);
(d) Offenses where there is no private offended party;
(e) Where the dispute involves real properties located in different cities or municipalities unless the parties thereto agree to submit their differences to amicable settlement by an appropriate lupon;
(f) Disputes involving parties who actually reside in Barangays of different cities or municipalities, except where such Barangay units adjoin each other and the parties thereto agree to submit their differences to amicable settlement by an appropriate lupon;
(d) Such other classes of disputes which the President may determine in the interest of justice or upon the recommendation of the secretary of Justice.
The Supreme Court issued Administrative Circular No. 14-93 stating as another exception to the jurisdiction of the Katarungang Pambarangay labor disputes or controversies arising from employer-employee relations.
Art. 226 [now re-numbered as Article 232] of the Labor Code, as amended, grants original and exclusive jurisdiction over conciliation and mediation of disputes, grievances or problems to certain offices of the Department of Labor and Employment.
Re-numbered copy of Labor Code now available
The case of Montoya vs. Escayo, et al. (.R. No. 82211-12 March 21, 1989) provides that it is the Bureau of Labor Relations and its divisions, and not the barangay Lupong Tagapayapa, which are vested by law with original and exclusive authority to conduct conciliation and mediation proceedings on labor controversies before their endorsement to the appropriate Labor Arbiter for adjudication. While the Montoya case refers to P.D. 1508 the ruling did not change with the repeal thereof which is now replaced by Sections 399-422, Chapter VII, Title I, Book III, and Sec. 515, Title I, Book IV, R.A. 7160, otherwise known as the Local Government Code of 1991.
Requiring conciliation of labor disputes before the barangay courts would defeat the very salutary purposes of the law. Instead of simplifying labor proceedings designed at expeditious settlement or referral to the proper court or office to decide it finally, the position taken by the petitioner would only duplicate the conciliation proceedings and unduly delay the disposition of the labor case.
It is worth noting that Single Entry Approach (SeNA) procedure is now in place as the initial step in pursuing labor claim in accordance with R.A. 10396 and its implementing rules and regulations or the D.O. 151-16 of the Department of Labor and Employment.
Hence, a labor case cannot be filed with the Barangay. The employer can validly refuse to participate in the Barangay proceedings over the labor dispute filed with the Barangay Captain for lack of jurisdiction.
Read more on jurisdiction over labor cases in the revised edition of Guide to Valid Dismissal of Employees