Floating Status Principle Does Not Apply Where There Are Several Clients On Company’s RosterAtty Elvin
Floating status or temporary off-detail of workers employed by agencies is implicitly recognized in Article 301 of the Labor Code which speaks of situations of temporary retrenchment or lay-off due to valid operation issues. The situation applies not only in security services but also in other industries.
However, in the case of Telus International Philippines, Inc. vs. De Guzman (G.R. No. 202676, December 4, 2019) the employee, De Guzman, was considered as a “floater” and was told that he would not get paid unless his floating status has been lifted.
The SC did not subscribe to the argument of the company that placing De Guzman on “floating status” was perfectly acceptable under the labor laws. Contrary to the stance of Telus, the floating status principle does not find application in the instant case.
The SC held further that while it may be argued that the nature of the call center business is such that it is subject to seasonal peaks and troughs because of client pullouts, changes in clients’ requirements and demands, and the myriad other factors, still, the necessity to transfer De Guzman to another practice/account does not depend on Telus’ third party-client/contracts.
When the controversy arose, Telus had several clients in its roster to which it can easily assign De Guzman as Quality Analyst without any hindrance. As earlier admitted by Telus, profiling interviews were not a condition precedent to the transfer. Moreover, after the lifting of his preventive suspension, Telus had several job vacancy postings for the position of Quality Analysts, the very position previously occupied by De Guzman.
The SC declared that while there is no specific provision in the Labor Code which governs the “floating status” or temporary “off-detail” of workers employed by agencies, it is implicitly recognized in Article 301 of the Labor Code which speaks of situations of temporary retrenchment or lay-off due to valid operation issues. The situation applies not only in security services but also in other industries.
Moreover, the SC held, citing ICT Marketing Services, Inc. vs. Sales, that placing employees in a valid “floating status” presupposes that there are more employees than work. In the instant case, Telus did not provide any valid justification or presented proof that there was indeed a deficit of account that bars the immediate transfer of De Guzman or that the company was sustaining losses that would justify placing De Guzman on floating status. Hence, the unwarranted acts of Telus evidently constitute proof of the constructive dismissal of De Guzman.