Labor Law

LVN Pictures v. Philippine Musicians Guild G.R. No. L-12582 January 28, 1961 Control Test, Employer-Employee Relationship

FACTS:

In its petition in the lower court, the Philippine Musicians Guild (the Guild), a duly registered legitimate labor organization, alleged that LVN Pictures, Inc., Sampaguita Pictures, Inc., and Premiere Productions, Inc. are corporations engaged in the making of motion pictures and in the processing and distribution thereof.

The Guild likewise alleged that said companies employ musicians for the purpose of making music recordings for title music, background music, musical numbers, finale music and other incidental music, without which a motion picture is incomplete and ninety-five (95%) percent of all the musicians playing for the musical recordings of said companies are members of the Guild

.

The Guild prayed that it be certified as the sole and exclusive bargaining agency for all musicians working in the aforementioned companies.

The latter, however, denied that they have any musicians as employees, and alleged that the musical numbers in the filing of the companies are furnished by independent contractors. 

The lower court, however, sustained the theory of the Guild.

A reconsideration of the order complained of having been denied by the Court en banc, LVN Pictures, inc., and Sampaguita Pictures, Inc., filed these petitions for review for certiorari.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the Guild members are employees of the film companies.

RULING:

The work of the musical director and musicians is a functional and integral part of the enterprise performed at the same studio substantially under the direction and control of the company.

In other words, to determine whether a person who performs work for another is the latter’s employee or an independent contractor, the National Labor Relations relies on ‘the right to control’ test. Under this test an employer-employee relationship exists where the person for whom the services are performed reserves the right to control not only the end to be achieved, but also the manner and means to be used in reaching the end.

The decisive nature of said control over the “means to be used”, is illustrated in the case of Gilchrist Timber Co., et al., in which, by reason of said control, the employer-employee relationship was held to exist between the management and the workers, notwithstanding the intervention of an alleged independent contractor, who had, and exercise, the power to hire and fire said workers. 

The aforementioned control over the “means to be used” in reading the desired end is possessed and exercised by the film companies over the musicians in the cases before us. [2017 Bar] Pinay Jurist

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