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Philippines Call Center Workers Sue Former Employer for Labor Violations

February 19, 2013

More than 100 former call center employees in the Philippines have filed suit against their former employers, citing unfair labor practices and unpaid benefits. The employees, who have retained the services of a lawyer, are bringing their case before the Philippines’ National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) Regional Arbitration Board 7.

The call center workers are suing their former employers, Americans Alexander and Wesley Minella, and Mark Kerveillant, a French national. The three were the owners of now-defunct Cordia Philippines Inc., a company that offered telecommunications services to U.S. and international clients but filed for bankruptcy in Florida in 2011. Since the bankruptcy, Minellas and Kerveillant have reportedly established a new company, Geils Communication, a Hellertown, Pennsylvania-based provider of traditional and voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) services. Geils has offices in Ibabao-Estancia in Mandaue City, Philippines, the Sun Star Cebu is reporting this week.

The plaintiff’s attorney, Israel Joseph Alingasa, told the newspaper that three former employers should be made to pay government-mandated benefits of Cordia personnel even if they have already established another company.

Another mystery, according to the newspaper, is how Minellas and Kerveillant were able to establish another company in the Philippines. Alien Control Officer Casimiro Madarang III of the Philippines Bureau of Immigration (BI) 7 told the Sun Star Cebu the agency has no record of Kerveillant and Wesley Minella. But BI records show that Alexander Minella first arrived in Cebu in 2006 and visited often until his last international departure in May of 2011, around the same time Cordia filed for bankruptcy.

Alingasa said the government should investigate how the owners of Cordia were able to establish another call center company after declaring bankruptcy. The newspaper was unable to reach the Minllas or Kerveillant for comment.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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