SC orders Lazada to reinstate riders, pay back wages
ZAMBOANGA City, Zamboanga del Sur, Philippines — The Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Lazada riders who challenged the ruling of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) and the Court of Appeals which found that there was no employer-employee relationship between them and online shopping app.
According to a statement released Saturday, the SC Second Division, in a decision penned by Senior Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, granted the petition of five Lazada riders — Chrisden Cabrera Ditiangkin, Hendrix Masamayor Molines, Harvey Mosquito Juanio, Joselito Castro Verde, and Brian Anthony Cubacub Nabong.
The court ordered Lazada to reinstate the petitioners to their former positions as Lazada riders, with full back wages computed from the time of dismissal up to the time of actual reinstatement.
In 2016, the petitioners were hired by Lazada as riders tasked with picking up items from sellers and delivering them to Lazada’s warehouse, earning P1,200 each per day as a service fee, for one year. This was indicated in a contract called Independent Contractor Agreement.
The year after, the petitioners found they had been removed from their usual routes and would no longer be given any schedules, prompting them to file a complaint against the company before the NLRC for illegal dismissal.
The NLRC dismissed their complaint on the ground that the petitioners were not regular employees of Lazada, a move upheld by the Court of Appeals.
However, the Supreme Court found that Lazada failed to discharge its burden of proving that the riders were independent contractors rather than regular employees.
“When the status of the employment is in dispute, the employer bears the burden to prove that the person whose service it pays for is an independent contractor rather than a regular employee with or without fixed terms,” the court said.