Bystander Rule in Labor Relations

However, note must be taken that even without the express provision of Section 12 of RA No. 9481, the "Bystander Rule" is already well entrenched in this jurisdiction. It has been consistently held in a number of cases that a certification election is the sole concern of the workers, except when the employer itself has to file the petition pursuant to Article 259 of the Labor Code, as amended, but even after such filing its role in the certification process ceases and becomes merely a bystander. The employer clearly lacks the personality to dispute the election and has no right to interfere at all therein. This is so since any uncalled-for concern on the part of the employer may give rise to the suspicion that it is batting for a company union. Indeed, the demand of the law and policy for an employer to take a strict, hands-off stance in certification elections is based on the rationale that the employees’ bargaining representative should be chosen free from any extraneous influence of the management; that, to be effective, the bargaining representative must owe its loyalty to the employees alone and to no other. (G.R. No. 179146; July 23, 2013)
The employer shall not be considered a party in the petition with a concomitant right to oppose a petition for certification election. The employer’s participation shall be limited to: [1] being notified or informed of petitions of such nature; and [2] submitting the list of employees during the pre-election conference should the Med-arbiter act favorably on the petition (Art. 271 of the Labor Code) The principle of bystander shall be strictly observed throughout the conduct of certification election. The employer shall not harass, intimidate, threat, or coerce employees before, during and after elections. (Sec. 1, Rule IX, Book V) However, manifestation of facts that would aid the mediator-arbiter in expeditiously resolving the petition such as existence of bar rule may be considered. (Sec. 1, Rule VIII, Book V)

The employer is not a party to a certification election, which is the sole or exclusive concern of the workers. The only instance when the employer may be involved in that process is when it is obliged to file a petition for certification election on its workers’ request to bargain collectively pursuant to Art. 258. (Hercules Industries, Inc. v Sec. of Labor; G.R. No. 96255)

The employer is a total stranger in the process of certification election. The employer has no standing to file a motion to dismiss. (PT&T v. Laguesma, G.R. No. 101730) A company’s interference in the Certification Election creates a suspicion that it intends to establish a company union. (Oriental Tin Can Labor Union v. Secretary of Labor; G.R. No. 116751)

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