What is a CONFIDENTIAL employee?

A confidential employee may be a rank-and-file or supervisory employee but because in the normal course of his duties, he becomes aware of management policies relating to labor relations, he is not allowed to assist, form or join a rank-and-file union or supervisory union, as the case may be. His exclusion from the bargaining unit is justified under the “confidential employee rule.” To allow him to join a union would give rise to a potential conflict of interest. Management should not be required to handle labor relations matters through employees who are represented by the union with which the company is required to deal and who, in the normal performance of their duties, may obtain advance information on the company’s position with regard to collective bargaining negotiations, the disposition of grievances, or other labor relations matters. (G.R. No. 110399)

However, the mere access of an employee to confidential labor relations information which is merely incidental to his duties and, therefore, knowledge thereof is not necessary in the performance of said duties, does not make such employee a confidential employee. If access to confidential labor relations information is to be a factor in the determination of an employee’s confidential status, such information must relate to the employer’s labor relations policies. Therefore, access to information which is regarded by the employer to be confidential from the business standpoint, such as financial information or technical trade secrets, will not render an employee a confidential employee. An employee may not be excluded from an appropriate bargaining unit merely because he has access to confidential information concerning the employer’s internal business operations which is not related to the field of labor relations. (G.R. No. 110399)