Paulino and SBT Trucking Corporation v. Court of Appeals
The petitioners, owning a family-owned trucking business named Vicente Sy Trucking, have undergone several name changes throughout the years until it was known as SBT Trucking Corporation in 1994.
In 1965, the private respondent Sahot was employed as a truck driver of the family business, who remained as such until 1994. In 1994, at 59 years old, Sahot had been incurring absences due to various ailments. Thus, Sahot approached the SSS and inquired about his medical and retirement benefits.
Unfortunately, he discovered that SBT Trucking had not remitted his premium payments. Thereafter, Sahot filed a weeklong leave. At the expiration of the leave, Sahot requested for an extension. However, he was allegedly threatened with a termination of his employment should he refuse to go back to work. Thus, upon not appearing for work the next day, he was terminated. Sahot then filed a complaint for illegal dismissal with the Labor Arbiter.
However, the petitioners argue that they had a partnership relationship with Sahot with him acting as an industrial partner from 1965 until 1994, wherein he was ultimately retained as an employee. Sahot denied that he was an industrial partner for there had not been any written agreement, no proof that he received a share in the profits, and no proof that he had any participation with respect to the running of the business.
Did a partnership exist between Sahot and the petitioners?
No. The Court held that there is no evidence pertaining to a partnership between the parties. The Court held that the private respondent did not contribute money, property, or industry for the purpose of engaging in the supposed business, nor any proof that he received a share in the profits.
Instead, there is an existence of an employer-employee relationship applying the following elements: a) the selection and engagement of the employee; b) the payment of wages; c) the power of dismissal; and d) the employer’s power to control the employee’s conduct.