ISAE v Quisumbing – GR 128845, 1 Jun 2000

Facts:
Private respondent International School, Inc. (the School, for short), pursuant to Presidential Decree 732, is a domestic educational institution established primarily for dependents of foreign diplomatic personnel and other temporary residents. To enable the School to continue carrying out its educational program and improve its standard of instruction, Section 2(c) of the same decree authorizes the School to employ its own teaching and management personnel selected by it either locally or abroad, from Philippine or other nationalities, such personnel being exempt from otherwise applicable laws and regulations attending their employment, except laws that have been or will be enacted for the protection of employees.
Accordingly, the School hires both foreign and local teachers as members of its faculty, classifying the same into two: (1) foreign-hires and (2) local-hires. The School employs four tests to determine whether a faculty member should be classified as a foreign-hire or a local hire:
a. What is one’s domicile?
b. Where is one’s home economy?
c. To which country does one owe economic allegiance?
d. Was the individual hired abroad specifically to work in the School and was the School responsible for bringing that individual to the Philippines?
Should the answer to any of these queries point to the Philippines, the faculty member is classified as a local hire; otherwise, he or she is deemed a foreign-hire.
The School grants foreign-hires certain benefits not accorded local-hires.1avvphi1 These include housing, transportation, shipping costs, taxes, and home leave travel allowance. Foreign-hires are also paid a salary rate twenty-five percent (25%) more than local-hires. The School justifies the difference on two “significant economic disadvantages” foreign-hires have to endure, namely:
(a) the “dislocation factor” and
(b) limited tenure.
The local hires in the subsequent CBA raised the issue of the difference of the salary between Foriegn and Local hires.

Issue:
Whether the point-of-hire classification was a reasonable basis on substantial distinctions applied to all members of the same class.

Held:
we find the point-of-hire classification employed by respondent School to justify the distinction in the salary rates of foreign-hires and local hires to be an invalid classification. There is no reasonable distinction between the services rendered by foreign-hires and local-hires. The practice of the School of according to higher salaries to foreign-hires contravenes public policy and, certainly, does not deserve the sympathy of this Court.

While SC recognize the need of the School to attract foreign-hires, salaries should not be used as an enticement to the prejudice of local-hires. The local-hires perform the same services as foreign-hires and they ought to be paid the same salaries as the latter. For the same reason, the “dislocation factor” and the foreign-hires’ limited tenure also cannot serve as valid bases for the distinction in salary rates. The dislocation factor and limited tenure affecting foreign-hires are adequately compensated by certain benefits accorded them which are not enjoyed by local-hires, such as housing, transportation, shipping costs, taxes and home leave travel allowances.

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