By MIRIAM TORRECAMPO & JUN I. LEGASPI
HAIRDRESSER and philanthropist Ricky Reyes is in hot water for the alleged illegal termination of an employee who tested positive for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
Rene Nocos, 47, claimed he was fired by Reyes as hairdresser at the Ricky Superstyle Color Salon on February last year after learning that he has HIV. He was working with the Reyes salon since July 2003.
“I tried to avail of free outpatient HIVIAIDS Treatment or OHAT package using Philhealth, but I discovered only last year that my employer is not making any payment at all. So I confronted him (Reyes) why he is not paying my Philhealth. He (Reyes) then fired me after learning that I have HIV right there and then,” Nocos disclosed in a press conference held yesterday at the National Labor Center, TUCP-PGEA compound in Quezon City.
The beleaguered hairdresser, also known as Bambi, has filed discrimination, unlawful termination and non-payment of his 13th month pay, holiday and separation pay, SSS and Philhealth premiums against Reyes and Tonette Moreno, vice president of Ricky Superstyle Color Salon, before the National Labor Relations Com mission (NLRC).
“I have committed wrong choices in the past and suffered heavi ly for it. My entire fam ily has disowned me. My friends have abandoned me. My co-workers have condemned me. Despite all these, I need my life back. But I can’t rebuild my life back because I was laid off from my job just because I have HIV.I want to put the pieces back together but my employer, Ricky Reyes, denied me of my social protection through SSS and in PhilHealth,” Nocos said with a heavy heart.
Meanwhile, Gerard Seno, executive vice president of the Associated Labor Unions (ALU) is appealing to the NLRC, SSS and Philhealth to immediately act on Nocos’ case.
“The justice rendered by these institutions is very important factor in Rene’s struggle to move his life on. There is no closure and there is no new beginning for him if there is injustice. We ardently appeal to these agencies to expedite the cases Rene has filed and help him in moving away from discrimination and charting a new life,” Seno added.
Also, ALU policy advocacy officer Alan Tan jusay said they will re quest the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Ro salinda Baldoz for the Labor Law Compliance Officers (LLCO) to con duct inspection and as sessment of all salon outlets owned by Reyes and Moreno.
“We want the DOLE to conduct complaint as sessment of all Reyes’ salons in the country and make sure that all its workers are being paid with the mandated wages and benefits and check if they are paying the SSS and Philhealth of all Ricky Superstyle Color Salon workers,” Tanjusay said.
Republic Act No. 8504 or the Philippine AIDS Prevention and Control Act of 1998 protect individuals with HIV/AIDS against discrimination in the workplace.
Nakakapanibago. It’s been years since I wrote my last article for People’s Tonight and now I had the chance to contribute again through this article. I’m sharing a by-line with a former co-worker.
The article can be found in the July 2, 2015 issue of People’s Tonight. page 5.
Information and photograph were given by TUCP spokesperson Mr. Alan Tanjusay.