(3rd of Four Parts)
TAGBILARAN CITY. – The kilometric news item published in a local weekly newspaper entitled “CA: no illegal dismissal of HNU ex-faculty’s case” did not give the side of Arlene Palgan nor was there any attempt to get her side of the story.
Palgan, who is now the chief executive officer of Powerhouse Review and Training Center here, was awarded P1.5 million by the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) which decided that Palgan was illegally dismissed by the Holy Name University (HNU).
The NLRC sheriff then garnished one of HNU’s bank accounts in Tagbilaran and remitted to Palgan the proceeds of the monetary award considering that the NLRC ruling was immediately executory.
But HNU immediately raised the case to the Court of Appeals in Cebu City which set aside the NLRC decision and re-instated the ruling of the Labor Arbiter on Feb. 27, 2012 declaring that Palgan was not illegally dismissed.
In its decision, the 19th division of the Court of Appeals upheld the ruling of the Labor Arbiter in saying that Palgan was not illegally terminated but her term of employment with HNU just expired.
On Feb. 28, 2007, HNU sent a notice to Palgan informing her that her term of employment which will end on March 31,2007 will no longer be renewed.
This prompted Palgan to file a complaint for illegal dismissal on Nov. 10, 2007 pointing out that she was already a regular employee of the school when her contract was already not renewed by HNU.
She also claimed that she was not afforded due process and sought moral and exemplary damages in the total amount of P1.5 million. The NLRC granted the said damages to Palgan.
Palgan cited that she has served HNU for more than six consecutive regular semesters with satisfactory and excellent performance and sterling qualifications. Based on the Manual of Regulations for Private School Teachers, Palgan cited that she already attained the status of a regular employee.
The NLRC decision noted the absence of any justifiable cause for her dismissal as she has never been guilty of infractions under the Labor Code, Palgan asserted that her employment was illegally terminated.
But HNU contended that Palgan was not illegally dismissed and that her contract of employment which ended on March 31, 2007 just terminated of which the school opted not to renew.
In the motion for reconsideration filed by Palgan’s legal counsel, it cited that she has acquired the mandatory requirement of a probationary employee of HNU as well as the one-year clinical experience.
In short, Palgan possessed the minimum academic requirements as a member of the faculty of the College of Nursing and contested that she only had an above-average performance when the school did not provide her with the standards for evaluation of her satisfactory completion of the probationary period. (To be continued)
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