Question:

Mansueto was hired by the Philippine Packing Company (PPC) sometime in 1960 as an hourly paid research field worker at its pineapple plantation in Bukidnon. In 1970, he was transferred to the general crops plantation in Misamis Oriental. Mansueto was promoted to the position of a monthly paid regular supervisor four years after.

Subsequently, research activity in Misamis Oriental was phased out on March of 1982 for having become unnecessary. Mansueto thereafter received a written memorandum from the PPC, reassigning him to the Bukidnon plantation effective April 1, 1982, with assurance that his position of supervisor was still there for him to hold.

Mansueto tried to persuade the PPC management to reconsider his transfer and if this was not possible, to at least consider his position as redundant so that he could be entitled to severance pay. PPC did not accept Mansueto’s proposal.

When Mansueto continuously failed to report for work at the Bukidnon plantation, PPC terminated his employment by reason of his refusal to accept his new assignment.

Mansueto claims that his reassignment is tantamount to an illegal constructive dismissal. Do you agree with Mansueto? Explain.

(Bar Examination in Labor Law, 2004)

Suggested Answer:

I do not agree with Mansueto. There is no constructive dismissal in this case. Mansueto’s contention cannot be sustained simply because the transfer causes him inconvenience. There is constructive dismissal when the employee quit because continued employment is rendered impossible, unreasonable or unlikeable, as in case of an offer involving a demotion in rank and a diminution in pay.

In this case, the transfer will not substantially alter the terms and conditions of employment of Mansueto as the Supervisor. The right to transfer an employee is part of the employer’s management prerogative. (See Philippine Japan Active Carbon Corp., vs. NLRC, G.R. No. 83239, March 8, 1989.)

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