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Torts and Damages Case Digest: Lopez v. Pan American (1966)

G.R. No. L-20434            July 30, 1966

Lessons Applicable: Factors in determining amount (Torts and Damages)
Laws Applicable: 


  • August 1, 1960: Pan American Employees Association staged a strike so Pan Am forced them to take a leave of absence without pay on February 22, 1961 to February 23, 1961
  • court a quo: affected them financially and economically, it ordered Pan America to pay them their two days salaries
  • CA: affirmed.
ISSUE: W/N the employees should be awarded back wages.

HELD: NO. AFFIRMED in so far as it declares petitioner Pan American World Airways, Inc. not guilty of unfair labor practice, but IS REVERSED in so far as it orders said petitioner to pay the members of the respondent labor union, Pan American Employees Association, their wages or salaries for February 22 and 23, 1961 when they were made by the petitioner to go on furlough. The petitioner is absolved from paying the said back wages. No pronouncement as to costs. It is so ordered.

  • The dismiss employee is not entirely without remedy if his charge of unfair labor practice fails and his complaint dismissed, because the breach by the employer of the obligation to him may be redressed like an ordinary contract or obligation
  • in placing its employees on furlough for two days, petitioner acted in good faith. The record shows that before laying them off it asked permission from the industrial court and only effected the furlough after said court authorized it to do so.
  • the step taken by respondent was necessary to protect its interest whose business is mainly dependent on the flight of its planes," giving as additional reason that "lack of work as a cause of lay-off is justified.
  • Inasmuch as petitioner acted in good faith, it should not be ordered to pay back wages to its laid off employees. 
  • not paid their wages for only two days, We do not believe that the same would place them in such a financial and economic distress as to warrant the award of their back wages