Echo 2000 Commercial Corp. v Obrero Filipino Echo 2000 Chapter-CLO
G.R. No. 214092, January 11, 2016
Echo received information about shortages in peso value arising from the movement of products to and from its warehouse. After an immediate audit, Echo suspected that there was a conspiracy among the employees in the warehouse. Since an uninterrupted investigation was necessary, Echo, in the exercise of its management prerogative, decided to re-assign the staff. The respondents were among those affected
Enriquez issued a memorandum informing the respondents of their transfer to the Delivery Section, which was within the premises of Echo’s warehouse. The transfer would entail no change in ranks, status and salaries.
Somido refused to be promoted as a “Delivery Supervisor.” He explained that he was already happy as a Warehouse Checker.
Echo alleged that the respondents did not perform the new duties assigned to them. Hence, they were each issued a memorandum, dated July 16, 2009, requiring them to explain in writing their failure to abide with the new assignments. Successive memoranda were issued by Echo to the respondents, who refused to acknowledge receipt and comply with the directives therein
Echo terminated the employment by reason of their repeated refusal to acknowledge receipt of Echo’s memoranda and flagrant defiance to assume the duties of Delivery Coordinators.
Whether or not the respondents were illegally suspended and terminated, hence, entitled to payment of their money claims, damages and attorney’s fees.
Yes, the respondents were illegally suspended and terminated but not entitled to payment of damages. The offer of transfer is, in legal contemplation, a promotion, which the respondents validly refused. Such refusal cannot be the basis for the respondents’ dismissal from service. The finding of unfair labor practice and the award of moral and exemplary damages do not however follow solely by reason of the dismissal.
In the instant case, the right not to accept an offered promotion pertained to each of the respondents. However, they exhibited disrespectful behavior by their repeated refusal to receive the memoranda issued by Echo and by their continued presence in their respective areas without any work output. The Court thus finds that although the respondents’ dismissal from service for just cause was unwarranted, there is likewise no basis for the award of moral and exemplary damages in their favor. Echo expectedly imposed disciplinary penalties upon the respondents for the latter’s intransigence.
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