The Innocent Bystander Rule


In situations where the picket affects not only the employer but also the business operations of other establishments owned by third parties, an injunction may be secured by the latter from the regular courts to enjoin the picket. Picketing strikers cannot prevent employees of other companies from using the same premises being picketed. A picketing labor union has no right to prevent employees of another company which is not their employer, from getting in and out of its rented premises, otherwise, it will be held liable for damages for its acts against an innocent bystander.

Under the “Innocent Bystander Rule,” the third-party employers or “innocent bystanders” who have no employer-employee relationship with the picketing strikers, may apply for injunction with the regular courts (not with the NLRC) to enjoin the conduct of the picket.

Because of the absence of such employer-employee relationship, the NLRC cannot entertain such application for injunction from “innocent bystanders. ” Only the employer of the picketers can apply for injunctive relief from the NLRC. (G.R. No. 128632)

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