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Case Digest on International School Alliance of Educators v. Quisumbing and International School G.R. No. 128845 (June 1, 2000)

November 10, 2010


International School (IS) pays its teachers who are hired from abroad, or foreign-hires, a higher salary than its local-hires, whether the latter are Filipino or not (most are Filipino, but some are American).  It justifies this under the ‘dislocation factor’ – that foreigners must be given a higher salary both to attract them to teach here, and to compensate them for the “significant economic disadvantages” involved in coming here.  The Teacher’s Union cries discrimination.

HELD:  Discrimination exists.  Equal pay for equal work is a principal long honored in this jurisdiction, as it rests on fundamental norms of justice

1.         Art. XIII, Sec. 1 of the Constitution (Social Justice and Human Rights) exhorts Congress to give the highest priority to the enactment of measures that protect and ennhance the right od all people to human dignity, reduce social, economic, and political inequalitites.”  The Constitution also provides that labor is entitled to “humane conditions of work.”. These conditions are not restricted to the physical workplace, but include as well the manner by which employers treat their employees.  Lastly, the Constitution directs the State to promote “equality of employment opportunities for all,” “…regardless of sex, race, or creed.”  It would be an affront to both the spirit and the letter of these provisions if the State closes its eyes to unequal and discriminatory terms and conditions of employment.

2.         International law, which springs from general principles of law, likewise proscribes discrimination.  General principles of law include principles of equity, i.e., fairness and justice, based on the test of what is reasonable.  The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and numerous other international Conventions all embody the general principle against discrimination, the very antithesis of fairness and justice.  The Philippines, through its Constitution, has incorporated this principle as part of its national laws.

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