The respondent operates a chain of hair salons in the Philippines. The complainant was hired as a hairdresser by respondent Ricky Superstyle Corporation on 16 July 2003. While employed by the respondent, the complaint began undergoing treatment for HIV; however, he was informed that the medical facility could not provide him with treatment due to his unpaid contributions to the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (“Philhealth”). He subsequently disclosed his HIV status to respondent, asking for the immediate payment of his Philhealth SSS and the Pag-Ibig contributions. Upon learning of the complainant’s HIV status, the respondent ordered his reassignment from the Quezon City Branch to the España Branch. The complainant objected to this reassignment, as he was aware that the España Branch operations would be closing down. However, ultimately, the complainant was transferred to the other branch. When it closed down, he requested another reassignment, but was left without a job. Subsequently, on 16 April 2014, the complainant brought a complaint for illegal dismissal.
Decision and Reasoning
The NLRC found in favour of the complainant, holding that he had been illegally dismissed due to his HIV-positive status. Taking note of the complainant’s statement that he no longer wished to be reinstated with the respondent company, the Commission awarded the complainant damages including back wages, including wage differential, ecola and 13th month pay, noting that he had been underpaid in terms of both his salary and other employment benefits.