Caunca v Salazar; G.R. No. L-2690; 01 Jan 1949; 82 Phil 851

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Estelita Flores was brought from the province to Manila and stayed in the house of respondent who is running an employment agency. Estelita was prevented from going with her cousin, the petitioner, unless the money advanced for her fare and other transportation expenses be paid first.

Whether or not an employment agency has the right to restrain and detain a maid until the latter has returned the payment advanced to her.

NO. An employment agency, regardless of the amount it may advance to a prospective employee has absolutely no power to curtail the freedom of movement of said employee. The fact that power to control said freedom may be an effective means of avoiding monetary losses to the agency is no reason for jeopardizing a fundamental human right. The fortunes of business can not be controlled by controlling a fundamental human freedom. Human dignity is not a merchandise appropriate for commercial barters or business bargains. Fundamental freedoms are beyond the province of commerce or any other business enterprise.

Petition is GRANTED.

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