Even though respondents were not represented by counsel in most of the stages of the proceedings of this case, the award of attorney’s fees as ruled by the Labor Arbiter, the NLRC and the CA to the respondents is still proper. In Rutaquio v. National Labor Relations Commission, this Court held that:
It is settled that in actions for recovery of wages or where an employee was forced to litigate and, thus, incur expenses to protect his rights and interest, the award of attorney’s fees is legally and morally justifiable.
In Producers Bank of the Philippines v. Court of Appeals this Court ruled that:
Attorney’s fees may be awarded when a party is compelled to litigate or to incur expenses to protect his interest by reason of an unjustified act of the other party.
In this case, respondents filed a complaint for illegal dismissal with claim for payment of their holiday pay, service incentive leave pay, and 13th month pay. The Labor Arbiter, the NLRC and the CA were one in ruling that petitioners did not pay the respondents their holiday pay, service incentive leave pay, and 13th month pay as mandated by law. For sure, this unjustified act of petitioners had compelled the respondents to institute an action primarily to protect their rights and interests.