Balancing the interests of labor and capital: an empirical analysis of Philippine Supreme Court labor cases from 1987 to 2016

In: Philippine Political Science Journal
Rogelio Alicor L. PanaoDepartment of Political Science, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Philippines

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Bea Xandra De LeonPower Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation, Philippines

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Extending the litigation selection hypothesis to labor regulations in fledgling democracies, we argue that distributive rules, such as social justice policies create a selection process in the litigation and resolution of workplace claims. Specifically, rules protective of labor increase the expectation of litigation success among otherwise resource-constrained parties, narrowing the suits actually brought to action to those that are close to the standard of labor legislations. The theory implies that workers in labor actions are more likely to win compared to corporations, a premise we test using a unique dataset of 3,601 Supreme Court decisions on labor issues from 1987 to 2016. Our findings suggest that individuals and unions are likely to emerge victorious, whether as petitioners or respondents, but only when issues involve compensation related claims, illegal dismissal, or unfair labor practices. We do not find evidence of similar predilection toward workers when issues involve the exercise of management prerogatives and discipline of employees, suggesting prudence by the high court to balance social justice with rational fairness.

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