SC: Worker’s right to publicly complain re: employer

In Hubilla v. HSY Marketing (G.R. No. 207354. January 10, 2018), petitioners allege that they were illegally dismissed from service when they were prevented from entering their work premises a day after airing their grievance in a radio show.

The Supreme Court said that a laborer does not lose his or her right to freedom of expression upon employment. This is "[a] political [right] essential to man's enjoyment of his [or her] life, to his [or her] happiness, and to his [or her] full and complete fulfillment." While the Constitution and the courts recognize that employers have property rights that must also be protected, the human rights of laborers are given primacy over these rights. Property rights may prescribe. Human rights do not.When laborers air out their grievances regarding their employment in a public forum, they do so in the exercise of their right to free expression. They are "fighting for their very survival, utilizing only the weapons afforded them by the Constitution—the untrammelled enjoyment of their basic human rights." Freedom and social justice afford them these rights and it is the courts' duty to uphold and protect their free exercise. Thus, dismissing employees merely on the basis that they complained about their employer in a radio show is not only invalid, it is unconstitutional.

Also read: Philippine Blooming Mills Employment Organization v. Philippine Blooming Mills Co., 151-A Phil. 656, 678 (1973) [Per J. Makasiar, En Banc].

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