Almirante: Demotion in rank-A A +A
Friday, September 6, 2013
Labor case digest
ON Feb. 17, 1997, respondent Amelia R. Francisco worked for the petitioner, The Orchard Golf and Country Club, as club accountant to head the club’s general accounting division and the four divisions under it. She reported directly to the club’s financial comptroller, Jose Ernilo P. Famy.
In a memorandum last June 29, 2000, Famy suspended Francisco without pay for 15 days for her failure to comply with a directive of Famy and to explain her failure. On July 20, 2000 or a day after Franscisco’s suspension expired, Famy issued separate memoranda to Francisco and Tomas B. Clemente III, the club’s general manager, informing them of Francisco’s transfer without diminution in salary and benefits, to the club’s cost accounting section.
On Aug. 11, 2000, Francisco filed a complaint for illegal dismissal against the Club, impleading Famy, Clemente and Ma. Irma Corazon A. Nuevo, the club’s general and administrative manager. Did the complaint prosper?
The Supreme Court said that Francisco’s transfer resulted to a demotion in her level/rank. The level of club accountant is not “supervisor 5” but “managerial 3” as indicated in the Notice of Personnel Action issued to complainant on July 20, 2000, signed by her immediate superior Famy, department head of respondent company on July 10, 2000, and approved by Tomas B. Clemente III, acting general manager & chief operations officer on July 11, 2000.
The alleged Aug. 15, 1998 organizational chart showing the club accountant and the cost controller occupying the same job grade level, which was attached to respondent’s Feb. 21, 2001 reply… was never implemented, otherwise, the department head and the acting GM & COO would not have specifically indicated “managerial 3” for complainant’s position of club accountant in the Notice of Personnel Action issued to complainant on July 10, 2000 or two years after the date of the alleged organizational chart.
Clearly, the complainant was a manager when she occupied the position of club accountant. However, when management transferred her to the position of cost controller/accountant, she was demoted to a supervisor.
Moreover, in complainant’s Dec. 3, 1997 job description as club accountant—prepared by Jose Ernilo P. Famy and approved by Ian Paul Gardner and Atty. Stellamar C. Flores of HR—it is specifically indicated that as club accountant, complainant directly supervises the cost controller.
Notably, the complainant was never issued any amendment to her Dec. 3, 1997 job description, which would have removed from her supervision the cost controller. In fact, respondents do not refute complainant’s allegation that as club accountant, she was responsible for the rating of the cost controller’s performance for the years 1998 to 2000. It becomes clearer now that the alleged Aug. 15, 1998 organizational chart—showing the club accountant and the cost controller occupying the same job grade level—which was attached to respondent’s Feb. 22, 2001 Reply … was, indeed, never implemented.
Otherwise, management would have issued complainant an amendment to her Dec. 3, 1997 job description effectively removed from her supervision the position of cost controller/accountant and management would not have let complainant rate the performance of the cost controller/accountant for the years 1998 to 2000.
It is obvious, therefore, that complainant’s position of club accountant is higher in level/rank than that of cost controller/accountant. Complainant’s transfer resulting to her demotion is, therefore, tantamount to constructive dismissal (The Orchard Golf and Country Club vs. Amelia R. Francisco, G.R. No. 178125, March 18, 2013, quoting the findings of the National Labor Relations Commission, as affirmed by the Court of Appeals).
(Almirante is a former labor arbiter)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 07, 2013.