Transfer versus Promotion

Somido and Cortes were engaged as a Warehouse Checker and Forklift Operator, respectively.

The employer in this case dismissed these employees for insubordination. It explained that it merely transferred the latter to the Delivery Section to work as a Delivery Supervisor/Coordinator without any change in ranks, status and salaries. Since said employees arrogantly refused to comply with its directive, they were consequently dismissed from employment for valid cause.

The Supreme Court disagreed.

The Court examined the positions of Warehouse Checker and Forklift Operator and found that they were classified as rank-and-file employees. On the other hand, the Court found that the job of a Delivery Supervisor/Coordinator required the exercise of discretion and judgment from time to time. Specifically, a Delivery Supervisor/Coordinator

  • assigned teams to man the trucks;
  • oversaw the loading of goods;
  • checked the conditions of the trucks;
  • coordinated with account specialists in the outlets regarding their delivery concerns; and
  • supervised other personnel about their performance in the warehouse.

A Delivery Supervisor/Coordinator’s duties and responsibilities were apparently not of the same weight as those of a Warehouse Checker or Forklift Operator. Despite the fact that no salary increases were effected, the Court viewed the employees’ assumption of the post of a Delivery Supervisor/Coordinator as a promotion. The employees’ refusal to accept the same was therefore valid.

An employee is not bound to accept a promotion, which is in the nature of a gift or reward. Refusal to be promoted is a valid exercise of a right. Such exercise cannot be considered in law as insubordination, or willful disobedience of a lawful order of the employer, hence, it cannot be the basis of an employee’s dismissal from service.

Further reading :

  • Echo 2000 Commercial Corp. v. Obrero Filipino-Echo 2000 Chapter-CLO, G.R. No. 214092, January 11, 2016.

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