MANILA, Philippines – A hairdresser has won the labor case he filed against celebrity hairstylist Ricky Reyes.
In 2014, Renato “Rene” Nocos had accused Reyes and Reyes’ business associate Tonneth Moreno of discrimination and unlawful termination, saying that he was fired after he disclosed that he had tested positive for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
Last week, the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) ordered Reyes to reinstate Nocos, and pay his back wages and benefits as well as attorney’s fees totaling P615,313.06.
Labor arbiter Joanne Hernandez-Lazo said Reyes and Moreno transferred Nocos to a salon branch that was about to go bankrupt after they learned he was HIV-positive. Nocos was never given any assignment after the branch closed.
“HIV illness is not highly contagious and it is not transmitted through touching, hugging, sneezing, coughing, eating or drinking common utensils or being around an infected person. Thus, the means by which they (Reyes, et al) tried to protect their other employees and customers unduly trampled upon the rights of the complainant (Nocos),” the NLRC decision said.
Before his termination, Nocos had already been working at Ricky Superstyle Color Salon for more than 10 years.
He filed a case against Reyes and Moreno on March 3, 2014, after he was fired on February 28, 2014.
Nocos also filed separate complaints against the two for alleged failure to remit his Social Security System (SSS) and PhilHealth insurance premiums.
The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), the organization that assisted Nocos, released a statement on Sunday, February 7.
“There is now a good reason for me to strive harder and get my life back, confident that justice shall reign supreme… This victory is an encouragement for those HIV-positive human beings like me who are fighting for respect and dignity,” Nocos said in the statement.
“Deep in my heart, I’m praying for NLRC to dismiss any appeal. And I’m praying for enlightenment for my boss Mother Ricky,” he added.
Ricky Reyes Corporation previously denied Nocos’ allegations, saying that it would not allow such discrimination to occur. – Rappler.com