Aunt sues for labor complaint against niece and her restaurant – a case study


I once had a business owner who told me that a first-degree aunt who had asked for work in their restaurant later on filed a labor case against the business.

You could thus feel the frustration and the sadness that was being felt by the restaurant owner. She felt betrayed having given employment to a family member and later on would be bitten in the hand.

What makes this worse is that the aunt was a not-so-good employee, who tends to report for work at her own liking. She had her own workschedule. Tardiness and absences do not seem to matter to her. She was a troublemaker.

The catch is the working arrangement was not documented.

This was the one being raised by the aunt in the labor case. She cried foul when she was barred entry at the restaurant and unceremoniously dismissed from employment. You know, telenovela style of confrontation and anger prevailing both sides.

Expectedly, the aggrieved aunt hurriedly went to the National Labor and Relations Commission (NLRC) Nf filed a labor case.

The restaurant-owner tried her best to explain herself before the Labor Arbiter. She went on to narrate that her aunt was given employment out of pity. And now, this is what is being repaid. That is the abbreviated version of the story. The longer one has more drama and emotions involved. The bottomline is the same: betrayal.

Do all these have any bearing to the case? NO.

The Labor Arbiter decides the case based on evidence and the law.

The evidence says the aunt was indeed an employee of the business. As thereis no proof to show that she is a non-regar employee, the law classifies her as a regular employee by default.

The restaurant owner was thus constrained to paying her aunt off to buy peace after evaluating her chances of winning, which was pretty dim. It did not help that her business was organized as a sole proprietorship and thus exposing her personal assets to liabilities.

There is a silverlining to this story. The restaurant learned from this event and went on to formalize her business via documentation and contracts. As they say, charge it to experience.

While many businesses have learned the difficulty of having a labor complaint, some have not and still continue with their incorrec practices waiting to get slapped with liabilities, from the thousands to the millions.