Diliman Preparatory School wins appeal on teacher’s labor suit
The Supreme Court (SC) has granted the petition of the Diliman Preparatory School (DPS) to reverse its consecutive losses against a teacher who sued for constructively dismissal following her implication in various anomalies.
In a recent 14-page decision, the SC 2nd Division set aside the Labor Arbiter (LA), the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) and the Court of Appeals’ (CA) April 2000, May 2002, and July 2008 rulings in favor of Leticia Perez.
Perez resigned in June 1995 after being stripped of her teaching load, following allegations that she failed to remit her students’ payments for their subscription to Saranggola magazine in August 1994, and that she allowed a student to cheat from her classmate in January 1995.
The teacher in June 1998 filed a complaint alleging constructive dismissal and seeking the payment of separation benefits.
Contrary to the lower tribunals’ findings, the SC said Perez was not constructively dismissed when she lost her morning class schedules and was made to work for the whole day while earning the same pay.
The SC noted DPS was only forced to reassign the classes to other teachers because Perez was serving out her suspension at the beginning of the school year and could not be given a teaching load. It upheld the school management’s prerogative to adjust its operations.
“As an academic institution, it is only but logical that the School’s paramount consideration would be its students, whose learning should not be disrupted or impeded merely because of concerns regarding the teaching assignments of the School’s employees,” read the decision penned by Associate Justice Andres Reyes, Jr.
The SC also gave weight to DPS’ reasoning that teachers with regular loads would be given shorter work hours inside the school grounds because they still perform other functions outside the classroom. Perez’s loss of her regular load thus meant she would have to be given the full work day.
“Having failed to prove that her transfer was a result of discrimination, bad faith or disdain by the petitioners, Perez’s claim of constructive dismissal must necessarily fail,” the SC said.