Book 5 – Title 2 – Chapter 2

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Art. 217. Jurisdiction of the Labor Arbiters and the Commission.

  1. Except as otherwise provided under this Code, the Labor Arbiters shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide, within thirty (30) calendar days after the submission of the case by the parties for decision without extension, even in the absence of stenographic notes, the following cases involving all workers, whether agricultural or non-agricultural:
    1. Unfair labor practice cases;
    2. Termination disputes;
    3. If accompanied with a claim for reinstatement, those cases that workers may file involving wages, rates of pay, hours of work and other terms and conditions of employment;
    4. Claims for actual, moral, exemplary and other forms of damages arising from the employer-employee relations;
    5. Cases arising from any violation of Article 264 of this Code, including questions involving the legality of strikes and lockouts; and
    6. Except claims for Employees Compensation, Social Security, Medicare and maternity benefits, all other claims arising from employer-employee relations, including those of persons in domestic or household service, involving an amount exceeding five thousand pesos (P5,000.00) regardless of whether accompanied with a claim for reinstatement.
  2. The Commission shall have exclusive appellate jurisdiction over all cases decided by Labor Arbiters.
  3. Cases arising from the interpretation or implementation of collective bargaining agreements and those arising from the interpretation or enforcement of company personnel policies shall be disposed of by the Labor Arbiter by referring the same to the grievance machinery and voluntary arbitration as may be provided in said agreements. (As amended by Section 9, Republic Act No. 6715, March 21, 1989)

Art. 218. Powers of the Commission. The Commission shall have the power and authority:

  1. To promulgate rules and regulations governing the hearing and disposition of cases before it and its regional branches, as well as those pertaining to its internal functions and such rules and regulations as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this Code; (As amended by Section 10, Republic Act No. 6715, March 21, 1989)
  2. To administer oaths, summon the parties to a controversy, issue subpoenas requiring the attendance and testimony of witnesses or the production of such books, papers, contracts, records, statement of accounts, agreements, and others as may be material to a just determination of the matter under investigation, and to testify in any investigation or hearing conducted in pursuance of this Code;
  3. To conduct investigation for the determination of a question, matter or controversy within its jurisdiction, proceed to hear and determine the disputes in the absence of any party thereto who has been summoned or served with notice to appear, conduct its proceedings or any part thereof in public or in private, adjourn its hearings to any time and place, refer technical matters or accounts to an expert and to accept his report as evidence after hearing of the parties upon due notice, direct parties to be joined in or excluded from the proceedings, correct, amend, or waive any error, defect or irregularity whether in substance or in form, give all such directions as it may deem necessary or expedient in the determination of the dispute before it, and dismiss any matter or refrain from further hearing or from determining the dispute or part thereof, where it is trivial or where further proceedings by the Commission are not necessary or desirable; and
  4. To hold any person in contempt directly or indirectly and impose appropriate penalties therefor in accordance with law.

    A person guilty of misbehavior in the presence of or so near the Chairman or any member of the Commission or any Labor Arbiter as to obstruct or interrupt the proceedings before the same, including disrespect toward said officials, offensive personalities toward others, or refusal to be sworn, or to answer as a witness or to subscribe an affidavit or deposition when lawfully required to do so, may be summarily adjudged in direct contempt by said officials and punished by fine not exceeding five hundred pesos (P500) or imprisonment not exceeding five (5) days, or both, if it be the Commission, or a member thereof, or by a fine not exceeding one hundred pesos (P100) or imprisonment not exceeding one (1) day, or both, if it be a Labor Arbiter.

    The person adjudged in direct contempt by a Labor Arbiter may appeal to the Commission and the execution of the judgment shall be suspended pending the resolution of the appeal upon the filing by such person of a bond on condition that he will abide by and perform the judgment of the Commission should the appeal be decided against him. Judgment of the Commission on direct contempt is immediately executory and unappealable. Indirect contempt shall be dealt with by the Commission or Labor Arbiter in the manner prescribed under Rule 71 of the Revised Rules of Court; and (As amended by Section 10, Republic Act No. 6715, March 21, 1989)

  5. To enjoin or restrain any actual or threatened commission of any or all prohibited or unlawful acts or to require the performance of a particular act in any labor dispute which, if not restrained or performed forthwith, may cause grave or irreparable damage to any party or render ineffectual any decision in favor of such party: Provided, That no temporary or permanent injunction in any case involving or growing out of a labor dispute as defined in this Code shall be issued except after hearing the testimony of witnesses, with opportunity for cross-examination, in support of the allegations of a complaint made under oath, and testimony in opposition thereto, if offered, and only after a finding of fact by the Commission, to the effect:
    1. That prohibited or unlawful acts have been threatened and will be committed and will be continued unless restrained, but no injunction or temporary restraining order shall be issued on account of any threat, prohibited or unlawful act, except against the person or persons, association or organization making the threat or committing the prohibited or unlawful act or actually authorizing or ratifying the same after actual knowledge thereof;
    2. That substantial and irreparable injury to complainant’s property will follow;
    3. That as to each item of relief to be granted, greater injury will be inflicted upon complainant by the denial of relief than will be inflicted upon defendants by the granting of relief;
    4. That complainant has no adequate remedy at law; and
    5. That the public officers charged with the duty to protect complainant’s property are unable or unwilling to furnish adequate protection.

    Such hearing shall be held after due and personal notice thereof has been served, in such manner as the Commission shall direct, to all known persons against whom relief is sought, and also to the Chief Executive and other public officials of the province or city within which the unlawful acts have been threatened or committed, charged with the duty to protect complainant’s property: Provided, however, that if a complainant shall also allege that, unless a temporary restraining order shall be issued without notice, a substantial and irreparable injury to complainant’s property will be unavoidable, such a temporary restraining order may be issued upon testimony under oath, sufficient, if sustained, to justify the Commission in issuing a temporary injunction upon hearing after notice. Such a temporary restraining order shall be effective for no longer than twenty (20) days and shall become void at the expiration of said twenty (20) days. No such temporary restraining order or temporary injunction shall be issued except on condition that complainant shall first file an undertaking with adequate security in an amount to be fixed by the Commission sufficient to recompense those enjoined for any loss, expense or damage caused by the improvident or erroneous issuance of such order or injunction, including all reasonable costs, together with a reasonable attorney’s fee, and expense of defense against the order or against the granting of any injunctive relief sought in the same proceeding and subsequently denied by the Commission.

    The undertaking herein mentioned shall be understood to constitute an agreement entered into by the complainant and the surety upon which an order may be rendered in the same suit or proceeding against said complainant and surety, upon a hearing to assess damages, of which hearing, complainant and surety shall have reasonable notice, the said complainant and surety submitting themselves to the jurisdiction of the Commission for that purpose. But nothing herein contained shall deprive any party having a claim or cause of action under or upon such undertaking from electing to pursue his ordinary remedy by suit at law or in equity: Provided, further, That the reception of evidence for the application of a writ of injunction may be delegated by the Commission to any of its Labor Arbiters who shall conduct such hearings in such places as he may determine to be accessible to the parties and their witnesses and shall submit thereafter his recommendation to the Commission. (As amended by Section 10, Republic Act No. 6715, March 21, 1989)

Art. 219. Ocular inspection. The Chairman, any Commissioner, Labor Arbiter or their duly authorized representatives, may, at any time during working hours, conduct an ocular inspection on any establishment, building, ship or vessel, place or premises, including any work, material, implement, machinery, appliance or any object therein, and ask any employee, laborer, or any person, as the case may be, for any information or data concerning any matter or question relative to the object of the investigation.

[Art. 220. Compulsory arbitration. The Commission or any Labor Arbiter shall have the power to ask the assistance of other government officials and qualified private citizens to act as compulsory arbitrators on cases referred to them and to fix and assess the fees of such compulsory arbitrators, taking into account the nature of the case, the time consumed in hearing the case, the professional standing of the arbitrators, the financial capacity of the parties, and the fees provided in the Rules of Court.] (Repealed by Section 16, Batas Pambansa Bilang 130, August 21, 1981)

Art. 221. Technical rules not binding and prior resort to amicable settlement. In any proceeding before the Commission or any of the Labor Arbiters, the rules of evidence prevailing in courts of law or equity shall not be controlling and it is the spirit and intention of this Code that the Commission and its members and the Labor Arbiters shall use every and all reasonable means to ascertain the facts in each case speedily and objectively and without regard to technicalities of law or procedure, all in the interest of due process. In any proceeding before the Commission or any Labor Arbiter, the parties may be represented by legal counsel but it shall be the duty of the Chairman, any Presiding Commissioner or Commissioner or any Labor Arbiter to exercise complete control of the proceedings at all stages.

Any provision of law to the contrary notwithstanding, the Labor Arbiter shall exert all efforts towards the amicable settlement of a labor dispute within his jurisdiction on or before the first hearing. The same rule shall apply to the Commission in the exercise of its original jurisdiction. (As amended by Section 11, Republic Act No. 6715, March 21, 1989)

Art. 222. Appearances and Fees.

  1. Non-lawyers may appear before the Commission or any Labor Arbiter only:
    1. If they represent themselves; or
    2. If they represent their organization or members thereof.
  2. No attorney’s fees, negotiation fees or similar charges of any kind arising from any collective bargaining agreement shall be imposed on any individual member of the contracting union: Provided, However, that attorney’s fees may be charged against union funds in an amount to be agreed upon by the parties. Any contract, agreement or arrangement of any sort to the contrary shall be null and void. (As amended by Presidential Decree No. 1691, May 1, 1980)

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