[Answer/discuss the question below, or see 2016 bar exam Labor Law Instructions; 2016 Labor Law Questions: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, and 19; See also 2016 Bar Exam: Information, Discussions, Tips, Questions and Results]
Mario Brothers, plumbing works contractor, entered into an agreement with Axis Business Corporation (Axis) for the plumbing works of its building under construction. Mario Brothers engaged the services of Tristan, Arthur, and Jojo as plumber, pipe fitter, and threader, respectively. These workers have worked for Mario Brothers in numerous construction projects in the past but because of their long relationship, they were never asked to sign contracts for each project. No reports to government agencies were made regarding their work in the company.
During the implementation of the works contract, Axis suffered financial difficulties and was not able to pay Mario Brothers its past billings. As a result, the three (3) employees were not paid their salaries for two (2) months and their 13th month pay. Because Axis cannot pay, Mario Brothers cancelled the contract and laid off Tristan, Arthur, and Jojo. The 3 employees sued Mario Brothers and Axis for illegal dismissal, unpaid wages, and benefits.
[a] Mario Brothers claims the 3 workers are project employees. It explains that the agreement is, if the works contract is cancelled due to the fault of the client, the period of employment is automatically terminated. Is the contractor correct? Explain. (2.5%)
[b] Can Axis be made solidarily liable with Mario Brothers to pay the unpaid wages and 13th month pay o f Tristan, Arthur, and Jojo? Explain. (2.5%)