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SC orders BPO to pay former employee back wages

The Supreme Court has ordered a business process outsourcing company to pay back wages to a former employee who filed a complaint against it for illegal dismissal.

The SC’s 2nd Division upheld the petition of Vincent Michael Banta Moll against Convergys Philippines Inc., which was ordered to pay back wages from March 25, 2018, separation pay and other unpaid benefits, and salaries, as well as attorney’s fees.

The labor arbiter, who first handled the case in 2018, had awarded Moll P264,329 that year after finding that Convergys abused its discretion when it transferred the employee without justifying the transfer.

The high court said it is “not convinced” there was an actual transfer, saying the firm “failed to adduce any office document, be it in the form of a memorandum, notice, letter, email, or any form of communication pertaining to petitioner’s supposed transfer to the Glorietta Office.”

“It also failed to prove the inclusion of petitioner’s name in the payroll account of U-verse Program in Glorietta Office if, indeed, there was transfer as Convergys would have this Court believe,” the tribunal said.

There was considerable distance between Moll’s residence and the Eton Centris Office in Quezon City compared to the company’s Glorietta office in Makati City.

The agent was hired as a sales associate in 2015 and was assigned regular accounts as part of schedule of activity and responsibility. However, beginning March 25, 2018, he no longer received any schedule.

He went to the Eton Centris Office and confirmed that he was no longer given any new assignment. He attempted to report the matter to the company’s human resources department for clarification but was refused entry to the office.

Moll filed a complaint before the National Labor Relations Commission and during the mediation proceedings, the company ordered him to report back to work.

This return-to-work order, the court noted, “was clearly a mere afterthought, made only after the case had already been filed.”

On March 24, 2018, the company decided to transfer excess manpower from the Eton Centris Office, including Moll, to its Glorietta office.

The transfer did not require a different set of skills or a diminution of salary.

Moll transferred and attended the first day of the training on March 26, 2018, but eventually did not report to work.

The company argued that it merely exercised its management prerogative to transfer employees as stated in the employment contract.*PNA

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