I have been employed in my company for the past three years. Recently, I was reassigned to a different position and have been tasked to do a job other than what was described in my contract. Because of this, I receive a salary less than what I was originally supposed to receive. Can you enlighten me if this is legal? Thank you.
Under Article 1159 of the New Civil Code of the Philippines, “(o)bligations arising from contracts have the force of law between the contracting parties and should be complied with in good faith.”
Hence, what was written in your job contract should be followed. This includes your job description and salary. Any deviation from the terms of your contract may constitute a breach.
Furthermore, in Jenny F. Peckson vs Robinsons Supermarket Corporation, Jody Gadia, Roena Sarte and Ruby Alex (GR No. 198534 July 3, 2013) the Supreme Court, through the Associate Justice Bienvenido Reyes, ruled:
“The managerial prerogative to transfer personnel must be exercised without grave abuse of discretion, bearing in mind the basic elements of justice and fair play. Having the right should not be confused with the manner in which that right is exercised. Thus, it cannot be used as a subterfuge by the employer to rid himself of an undesirable worker. In particular, the employer must be able to show that the transfer is not unreasonable, inconvenient or prejudicial to the employee; nor does it involve a demotion in rank or a diminution of his salaries, privileges and other benefits. Should the employer fail to overcome this burden of proof, the employee’s transfer shall be tantamount to constructive dismissal, which has been defined as a quitting because continued employment is rendered impossible, unreasonable or unlikely; as an offer involving a demotion in rank and diminution in pay. Likewise, constructive dismissal exists when an act of clear discrimination, insensibility or disdain by an employer has become so unbearable to the employee leaving him with no option but to forego with his continued employment.”
Thus, based on the foregoing, your reassignment may be construed as a form of constructive illegal dismissal as there seems to be a diminution in the salaries or benefits you receive in your current employment.
Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.
We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org