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524 SCRA 290 – Labor Law – Labor Standards – Fixed-Term Employee vs Regular

Employee
Thelma Dumpit-Murillo was hired by ABC as a newscaster in 1995. Her contract with the TV
station was repeatedly renewed until 1999. She then wrote Jose Javier (VP for News and
Public Affairs of ABC) advising him of her intention to renew the contract.
Javier did not respond.
Dumpit then demanded reinstatement as well as her backwages, service incentive leave
pays and other monetary benefits.
ABC said they could only pay her backwages but her other claims had no basis as she was
not entitled thereto because she is considered as a talent and not a regular employee.
Dumpit sued ABC. The Labor Arbiter ruled against Dumpit. The National Labor Relations
Commission reversed the LA. The Court of Appeals reversed the NLRC and ruled that as
per the contract between ABC and Dumpit, Dumpit is a fixed term employee.
ISSUE: Whether or not Dumpit is a regular employee.
HELD: Yes. Dumpit was a regular employee under contemplation of law. The practice of
having fixed-term contracts in the industry does not automatically make all talent contracts
valid and compliant with labor law. The assertion that a talent contract exists does not
necessarily prevent a regular employment status.
The duties of Dumpit as enumerated in her employment contract indicate that ABC had
control over the work of Dumpit. Aside from control, ABC also dictated the work
assignments and payment of petitioner’s wages. ABC also had power to dismiss her. All
these being present, clearly, there existed an employment relationship between Dumpit and
ABC.
In addition, her work was continuous for a period of four years. This repeated engagement
under contract of hire is indicative of the necessity and desirability of the Dumpit’s work in
ABC’s business.