Employee ID Issued may not be Competent to Prove Employment RelationshipAtty Elvin
One of the usual ways to prove employer-employee relationship is the presentation of employee ID. However, there can be an instance where an ID card bearing the label “Employee Name” may not be competent to prove employment relationship.
In a dispute over the existence of employer-employee relationship, the Court examines the circumstances surrounding the parties or the complainant and the respondents. The rule in a claim of existence of employer-employee relationship is that the claimant has the burden of proof.
It is a basic rule of evidence that each party must prove his affirmative allegation. (Martinez vs. National Labor Relations Commission, 339 Phil. 176, 183 (1997).)
If he claims a right granted by law, he must prove his claim by competent evidence, relying on the strength of his own evidence and not upon the weakness of that of his opponent. (Rufina Patis Factory vs. Alusitain, G.R. No. 146202, July 14, 2004, 434 SCRA 418, 428.)
The test for determining on whom the burden of proof lies is found in the result of an inquiry as to which party would be successful if no evidence of such matters were given. (Imperial Victory Shipping Agency vs. National Labor Relations Commission, G.R. No. 84672, August 5, 1991, 200 SCRA 178,185.)
In an illegal dismissal case, the onus probandi rests on the employer to prove that its dismissal of an employee was for a valid cause. (R.P. Dinglasan Construction, Inc. vs. Atienza, G.R. No. 156104, June 29,
2004, 433 SCRA 263, 269.) However, before a case for illegal dismissal can prosper, an employer-employee relationship must first be established. (Sy vs. Court of Appeals, 446 Phil. 404, 413 (2003).)
In filing a complaint before the Labor Arbiter for illegal dismissal based on the premise that she was an employee, it is incumbent upon the complainant to prove the employee-employer relationship by substantial evidence. (Martinez vs. National Labor Relations Commission)
The Court applies the four-fold test expounded in Abante vs. Lamadrid Bearing and Parts Corp. (G.R. No. 159890, May 28, 2004, 430 SCRA 368) to ascertain the existence of an employer-employee relationship, jurisprudence has invariably applied the four-fold test, namely:
(1) the manner of selection and engagement;
(2) the payment of wages;
(3) the presence or absence of the power of dismissal; and
(4) the presence or absence of the power of control.
Of these four, the last one is the most important. The so-called “control test” is commonly regarded as the most crucial and determinative indicator of the presence or absence of an employer-employee relationship.
Under the control test, an employer-employee relationship exists where the person for whom the services are performed reserves the right to control not only the end achieved, but also the manner and means to be used in reaching that end.
As to the ID card, in the case of Lopez vs. Bodega City (G.R. No. 155731, September 3, 2007) the SC held that it is true that the words “EMPLOYEE’S NAME” appear printed below petitioner’s name. However, the employee therein failed to dispute the company’s evidence consisting of another’s testimony, that he and the other “contractors” of Bodega City such as the singers and band performers, were also issued the same ID cards for the purpose of enabling them to enter the premises of Bodega City.
It is undisputed that non-employees, such as Felimon Habitan, and admitted concessionaire, musicians, singers and the like at Bodega City are also issued identification cards. Given this premise, it appears clear that the I.D. Card is incompetent proof of an alleged employer-employee relationship between the herein parties. Viewed in the context of this case, the card is at best a “passport” from management assuring the holder thereof of his unmolested access to the premises of Bodega City.
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