Saturday, April 9, 2016

Discrimination based on marriage or non-marriage


“x x x.

The doctrine of management prerogative gives an employer the right to "regulate, according to his own discretion and judgment, all aspects of employment, including hiring, work assignments, working methods, the time, place and manner of work, work supervision, transfer of employees lay-off of workers, and discipline, dismissal, and recall of employees."48 In this case, Brent imposed on Cadiz the condition that she subsequently contract marriage with her then boyfriend for her to be reinstated. According to Brent, this is "in consonance with the policy against encouraging illicit or common-law relations that would subvert the sacrament of marriage."49 Statutory law is replete with legislation protecting labor and promoting equal opportunity in employment. No less than the 1987 Constitution mandates that the "State shall afford full protection to labor, local and overseas, organized and unorganized, and promote full employment and equality of employment opportunities for all. "50 The Labor Code of the Philippines, meanwhile, provides:

Art. 136. Stipulation against marriage. - It shall be unlawful for an employer to require as a condition of employment or continuation of employment that a woman employee shall not get married, or to stipulate expressly or tacitly that upon getting married, a woman employee shall be deemed resigned or separated, or to actually dismiss, discharge, discriminate or otherwise prejudice a woman employee merely by reason of her marriage. 

With particular regard to women, Republic Act No. 9710 or the Magna Carta of Women51 protects women against discrimination in all matters relating to marriage and family relations, including the right to choose freely a spouse and to enter into marriage only with their free and full consent.52 Weighed against these safeguards, it becomes apparent that Brent's condition is coercive, oppressive and discriminatory. There is no rhyme or reason for it. It forces Cadiz to marry for economic reasons and deprives her of the freedom to choose her status, which is a privilege that inheres in her as an intangible and inalienable right.53 While a marriage or no-marriage qualification may be justified as a "bona fide occupational qualification," Brent must prove two factors necessitating its imposition, viz: : (1) that the employment qualification is reasonably related to the essential operation of the job involved; and (2) that there is a factual basis for believing that all or substantially all persons meeting the qualification would be unable to properly perform the duties of the job.54 Brent has not shown the presence of neither of these factors. Perforce, the Court cannot uphold the validity of said condition.

X x x.”