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WPP Marketing Communications Inc. et al. Vs Jocelyn M Galera/Jocelyn M.

Galera vs WPP Marketing

Communications Inc.
GR. No. 169207/169239
March 25, 2010

Facts: Petitioner Jocelyn Galera is an American citizen recruited by private respondents, a corporation based in
Hong Kong, China, to work in the Philippines for WPP Marketing Communcations Inc. (WPP). Such
employment became effective on September 1, 1999. Four months passed and petitioner was designated as Vice
President of WPP. On December 14, 2000, she was verbally notified by private respondent Steedman of her
termination and a termination letter followed the next day. She filed a complaint for illegal dismissal, damages
and backwages against them. The Labor Arbiter found for the petitioner in claiming the dismissal to be illegal
and explained that that petitioner was not afforded due process for her dismissal. The NLRC reversed the ruling
of the Arbiter and stated that Galera was a corporate officer, being the Vice President of WPP, and as such, the
Labor Arbiter did not have jurisdiction over the case since being an intra-corporate dispute, it is not cognizable
by the Labor Arbiter. Galera appealed to the CA and it reversed the decision of the NLRC stating that a person
could be considered a corporate officer only if appointed as such by a corporation's Board of Directors, or if
pursuant to the power given them by either the Articles of Incorporation or the By-Laws. The case eventually
reached the SC.

Issues: Was Galera an Employee or a Corporate Officer of WPP?

Whether or not the case was properly cognizable by the Labor Arbiter.
Whether or not the dismissal of Galera without being in compliance of the two-notice rule was proper.
Whether or not Galera was entitled to the monetary award even without securing an Alien Employment Permit
prior to her employment.

Held: 1. Galera is an employee. An examination of WPP's by-laws resulted in a finding that her apointment as
a corporate officer was an appointment to a non-existent corporate office. The by-laws provided for only one
Vice-President and five directorship positions and at the time of her appointment, all the positions were still
occupied. Although the amended by-laws provided for an additional Vice-President and two additional directors,
the approval of the amendment was effective only on Februar 16, 2001 and being prospective, it could not have
affected the dismissal of Galera which was on December 14, 2000. In addition, the four-fold test of an employer-
employee relationship was met as substantiated by the provisions of her contract.

2. Being an employee, the case was properly cognizable by the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC. Stated in Article
217 of the Labor Code is the Jurisdiction of Labor Arbiters and the Commission to hear and decided cases
involving all workers, whether agricultural or non-agricultural and the present case fell under one of the

3. No it was improper for lacking both substantive and procedural due process. WPP failed to prove any just and
authorized cause for Galera's dismissal and did not comply to the two-notice rule before termination of
employment can be legally effected which are: 1. notice which apprises the employee of the particular acts or
omissions for which his dismissal is sought; and 2. the subsequent notice which informs the employee of the
employer's decision to dismiss him.

4. No. The law and the rules are consistent in stating that the employment permit must be acquired prior to
employment. The Labor Code states: Any alien seeking admission to the Philippines for employment purposes
and any domestic or foreign employer who desires to engage an alien for employment in the Philippines shall
obtain an employment permit from the Department of Labor. Galera cannot come to this Court with unclean
hands. To grant Galera's prayer is to sanction the violation of the Philippine labor laws requiring aliens to secure
work permits before their employment. We hold that the status quo must prevail in the present case and we leave
the parties where they are.