HIV Positive hairdresser wins labor and discrimination case against Ricky Reyes

Former Ricky Reyes employee Rene Nocos (in the middle) is flanked by Noel Quinto of Pinoy Plus Foundation (PPF) and Associated Labor Unions (ALU) policy advocacy officer and Trade Union Congress of the Philippines spokesperson Alan Tanjusay (in green polo shirt). Pinoy Plus and ALU-TUCP expressed support to Nocos and commended him for his courage to come out in the public. This photo was taken after the press conference today July 1, 2015. Photo credit to Glenda Ariate of the Associated Labor Unions.

Former Ricky Reyes employee Rene Nocos (in the middle) is flanked by Noel Quinto of Pinoy Plus Foundation (PPF) and Associated Labor Unions (ALU) policy advocacy officer and Trade Union Congress of the Philippines spokesperson Alan Tanjusay (in green polo shirt). Pinoy Plus and ALU-TUCP expressed support to Nocos and commended him for his courage to come out in the public. This photo was taken after the press conference today July 1, 2015. Photo credit to Glenda Ariate of the Associated Labor Unions.

The Philippines’ labor and management mediation-court found popular hairstylist Ricky Reyes and his business associate guilty of discrimination and unlawful termination of their employee — a 47-year old HIV positive hairdresser, the labor group Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP)announced yesterday.

Labor and management dispute mediator the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) last week ordered Reyes to reinstate and pay the back wages and benefits of their employee and complainant Renato Nocos including salary differentials, emergency cost of living allowances, mandatory 13th month pay, separation pay and attorney’s fees amounting to a total of P615,313.06.

In a 10-page decision, labor arbiter Joanne G. Hernandez-Lazo said the court found that Reyes and Moreno transferred Nocos to a branch that is about to be bankrupt immediately after learning that the complainant showed symptoms of HIV infection. After the closure of the branch, Nocos was never given any assignment.

“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 decision said.

Nocos filed a case of discrimination, unlawful termination, non-payment of lawful wages and benefits against Reyes and business partner Tonneth Moreno at NLRC on March 3, 2014 after he was fired on February 28, 2014. Nocos claimed he was fired by Reyes and Moreno after disclosing to them he had HIV.

Moreover, Nocos filed a separate complaint against Reyes and Moreno for not paying his Social Security System (SSS) and Philhealth insurance premiums amid being employed in the company since July 16, 2003.

“There is now a good reason for me to strive harder and get my life back, confident that justice shall reign supreme. On other hand, this victory is an encouragement for those HIV positive human beings like me who are fighting for respect and dignity. Deep in my heart, I’m praying for NLRC to dismiss any appeal. And I’m praying for enlightenment for my boss Mother Ricky,” Nocos said.

On his part, ALU national executive vice president Gerard Seno said: “Oppression like this happens because there are still a great majority in our society whose judgment calls are still guided by their ignorance about HIV and AIDS. Labor unions feel there’s a strong need to combine and connect the old and the new paradigms about HIV and AIDS in order to minimize stigma and discrimination surrounding the phenomenon.”

Nocos sought the help of the labor federation in June last year and disclose himself in public amid the risk of family and social stigma and discrimination in pursuing the case.

Check the background story from this link: http://www.yamsfiles.com/ricky-reyes-terminates-hiv-positive-hairdresser/

Choosing the Right Candidate

editorial cartoon july 23 2015

Image credit: N for People’s Tonight (July 23, 2015 issue)

Having trouble choosing the right political candidate? Maybe there are a few you are leaning towards, but something about them just does not sit well with you. For example, maybe one of the candidates you like advocates a push to solve global warming, but drives a gas-guzzling Hummer. So what exactly should you do?

Break it down

If you’re looking to choose the “right” candidate you should decide what exactly you are looking for in a candidate. This could depend on the leadership qualities of that candidate and the amount of experience they would bring into office. This could also depend on their position on specific issues that you care about and whether or not you see eye to eye with them on said issue. Both of those factors are very important, and you should consider the characteristics and leadership qualities that you want to see in a good candidate. Research the candidate and find out more about their background and experience. Are they honest, smart, and a good communicator? Those looking for voting records and political positions on specific candidates can check out www.votesmart.org to help make this decision process that much easier.

Leadership and ethics

Find out more about the candidate’s leadership abilities. How will you know if they work well under pressure and will be able to carry out their duties? Outside of researching their backgrounds and experience to find out how prepared they are for the job, also consider observing their campaigns. Does the candidate accept invitations to debate or to speaking engagements? Review the findings and watch the campaign develop. Your research should match what you see in the campaigns, and the campaigns should emphasize real issues that need to be solved.

Many candidates use radio, television, direct mail, pamphlets, flyers, and emails in their campaigns. Does the pamphlet that was put in your mailbox contain valid information? Read it closely and see if it mentions the candidate’s devotion to helping better the country. If their stance on family is also important to you— does their pamphlet or flyer tell you about their dedication to family values? Watch out for accusations about other candidates or false statements made that cannot be confirmed or denied close to Election Day. Television and radio advertisements are also highly popular, and a lot of candidates try to use them to their advantage. When watching ads on television or listening to them on the radio, ask yourself what you learned about the candidate.

Discerning ads

Was the ad purely designed to change your emotional feelings towards that person? Or did the ad appeal to a certain group of people such as women or senior citizens? You can learn a lot about issues that candidates deem important just from a short ad on the radio or TV. Just make sure that you are aware of how the media may be trying to influence your decision or reaction towards candidates during a campaign. Direct mail and emails are generally used to send more personalized messages to groups of voters. Candidates may break their direct mail campaign down in such a way that women rights advocates receive a different message than other organizations or groups. This, of course, is hardly ever an accident.

Campaigns

You should also rate the candidate based on their ability to run a good campaign. Campaign performance can provide clues on how that candidate will perform once they are elected into office. Is the candidate accessible and regularly meet with the press to discuss issues and give their views and thoughts on problems? Does the candidate debate with opponents and put up good arguments? Good candidates also often give clear solutions to the problems they want to solve. Are these solutions apparent in their campaign? These are all important factors that can make a big difference on which political candidate is the right one to choose. However, you should always keep in mind that you want to keep an eye out for the candidate that you feel will change your community for the better, as well as states and the country as a whole.

Always weigh both sides of the argument, and view the alternatives. Listen and view issues from all angles and think about how the pros may outweigh the cons. In this way, you can be better prepared before an election season, making things a bit easier if you truly want to vote for the best candidate on the ticket.