Constructive Dismissal does not Always Involve Diminution in Rank, Compensation, Benefit and privileges
Constructive dismissal exists where there is cessation of work, because ‘continued employment is rendered impossible, unreasonable or unlikely, as an offer involving a demotion in rank or a diminution in pay’ and other benefits. Aptly called a dismissal in disguise or an act amounting to dismissal but made to appear as if it were not, constructive dismissal may, likewise, exist if an act of clear discrimination, insensibility, or disdain by an employer becomes so unbearable on the part of the employee that it could foreclose any choice by him except to forego his continued employment. [Telus International Philippines, Inc. vs. De Guzman, G.R. No. 202676, December 04, 2019.]
Constructive dismissal occurs when an employer makes an employee’s continued employment impossible, unreasonable or unlikely, or has made an employee’s working conditions or environment harsh, hostile and unfavorable, such that the employee feels obliged to resign from his or her employment. Common examples are when the employee is demoted, or when his or her pay or benefits are reduced. [LBC Express-Vis, Inc. vs. Palco, G.R. No. 217101, February 12, 2020]
However, constructive dismissal is not limited to these instances. The gauge to determine whether there is constructive dismissal, is whether a reasonable person would feel constrained to resign from his or her employment because of the circumstances, conditions, and environment created by the employer for the employee. [Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) vs. Rebesencio, 750 Phil. 791, 839 (2015)]
Constructive dismissal does not always involve forthright dismissal or diminution in rank, compensation, benefit and privileges. There may be constructive dismissal if an act of clear discrimination, insensibility, or disdain by an employer becomes so unbearable on the part of the employee that it could foreclose any choice by him except to forego his continued employment. [Hyatt Taxi Services Inc. vs. Catinoy, 412 Phil.
295, 306 (2001)]
In Penaflor vs. Outdoor Clothing Manufacturing Corporation, constructive dismissal has been described as tantamount to involuntary sic resignation due to the harsh, hostile, and unfavorable conditions set by the employer. In the same case, it was noted that the gauge for constructive dismissal is whether a reasonable person in the employee’s position would feel compelled to give up his employment under the prevailing circumstances.
In Peckson vs. Robinsons Supermarket Corp., the Court held that the burden is on the employer to prove that the transfer or demotion of an employee was a valid exercise of management prerogative and was not a mere subterfuge to get rid of an employee; failing in which, the employer will be found liable for constructive dismissal.
In case of a constructive dismissal, the employer has the burden of proving that the transfer and demotion of an employee are for valid and legitimate grounds such as genuine business necessity. Particularly, for a transfer not to be considered a constructive dismissal, the employer must be able to show that such 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. Failure of the employer to overcome this burden of proof, the employee’s demotion shall no doubt be tantamount to unlawful constructive dismissal.
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