Case Brief: St. Luke’s Medical Center Employee’s Foundation AFW v NLRC

G.R. No. 162053 March 7, 2007

ST. LUKE’S MEDICAL CENTER EMPLOYEE’S FOUNDATION AFW

v.

NLRC

Facts:

Congress passed and enacted Republic Act No. 7431 known as the “Radiologic Technology Act of 1992.” Said law requires that no person shall practice or offer to practice as a radiology and/or x-ray technologist in the Philippines without having obtained the proper certificate of registration from the Board of Radiologic Technology. Petitioner Maribel Santos was hired as X-Ray Technician in the Radiology department of private respondent St. Luke’s Medical Center, Inc. (SLMC).

Pursuant to RA 7431 the assistant Executive Director-Ancillary Services and HR Director of private respondent SLMC issued a final notice to all practitioners of Radiologic Technology to comply with the requirement otherwise, the unlicensed employee will be transferred to an area which does not require a license to practice if a slot is available.

The Director of the Institute of Radiology issued another memorandum to petitioner Maribel S. Santos advising her that only a license can assure her of her continued employment at the Institute of Radiology of the private respondent SLMC and that the latter is giving her the last chance to take and pass the forthcoming board examination scheduled in June 1998; otherwise, private respondent SLMC shall be constrained to take action which may include her separation from employment.  On November 23, 1998, the Director of the Institute of Radiology issued a notice to petitioner Maribel S. Santos informing the latter that the management of private respondent SLMC has approved her retirement in lieu of separation pay. SLMC issued a “Notice of Separation from the Company” to petitioner Maribel S. Santos effective December 30, 1998 in view of the latter’s refusal to accept private respondent SLMC’s offer for early retirement.

Petitioner Maribel Santos files a complaint against private respondent illegal dismissal and non-payment of salaries, allowances and other monetary benefits. She
further contends that her failure to pass the board licensure exam for exam for X-ray
technicians did not constitute just cause for termination as it violated her
constitutional right to security of tenure. The appellate court finds this contention
untenable, hence this petition for certiorari.

Issue:

Whether or not the petitioner is legally dismissed pursuant to R.A. 7431
exercising police power of the State?

Held:

Yes, the petitioner dismissal is valid due to her inability to secure a certificate
of registration from Board of Radiologic Technology.

While the right of workers to security of tenure is guaranteed by the Constitution, its exercise may be reasonably regulated pursuant to the police power of the State to safeguard health, morals, peace, education, order, safety, and the general welfare of the people. Consequently, persons who desire to engage in the learned professions requiring scientific or technical knowledge may be required to take an examination as a prerequisite to engaging in their chosen careers. The state is justified in prescribing the specific requirements for x-ray technicians and/or any other professions connected with the health and safety of its citizens. Respondent being engaged in the hospital and health care business, is a proper subject of the cited law; thus, having in mind the legal requirements of these laws, the latter cannot close its eyes and complainant private interest override public interest. The law is clear that the Certificate of Registration cannot be substituted by any other requirement to allow a person to practice as a Radiologic Technologist and/or X-ray Technologist (Technician

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