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LABOR NOTES

Field Personnel

According to Article 82 of the Labor Code, field personnel shall refer to non-agricultural employees who regularly
perform their duties away from the principal place of business or branch office of the employer and whose actual
hours of work in the field cannot be determined with reasonable certainty. This definition is further elaborated in
the Bureau of Working Conditions (BWC), Advisory Opinion to Philippine Technical-Clerical Commercial Employees
Association which states that:

As a general rule, [field personnel] are those whose performance of their job/service is not supervised by the
employer or his representative, the workplace being away from the principal office and whose hours and days of
work cannot be determined with reasonable certainty; hence, they are paid specific amount for rendering specific
service or performing specific work. If required to be at specific places at specific times, employees including drivers
cannot be said to be field personnel despite the fact that they are performing work away from the principal office
of the employee. – Serrano v Severino, G.R. 187698, August 9, 2010

A careful perusal of said provisions of law will result in the conclusion that the grant of service incentive leave has
been delimited by the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Labor Code to apply only to those employees not
explicitly excluded by Section 1 of Rule V. According to the Implementing Rules, Service Incentive Leave shall not
apply to employees classified as "field personnel." The phrase "other employees whose performance is unsupervised
by the employer" must not be understood as a separate classification of employees to which service incentive leave
shall not be granted. Rather, it serves as an amplification of the interpretation of the definition of field personnel
under the Labor Code as those "whose actual hours of work in the field cannot be determined with reasonable
certainty.

Thus, in order to conclude whether an employee is a field employee, it is also necessary to ascertain if actual hours
of work in the field can be determined with reasonable certainty by the employer. In so doing, an inquiry must be
made as to whether or not the employee’s time and performance are constantly supervised by the employer. AUTO
BUS TRANSPORT SYSTEMS, INC., vs ANTONIO BAUTISTA, G.R. No. 156367, May 16, 2005

Wage Deductions

The petitioner deducted the amount of ₱8,304.93 from Esteban’s last salary. According to the petitioner, this
represents the store’s negative variance for the year 2005 to 2006. The petitioner justifies the deduction on the basis
of alleged trade practice and that it is allowed by the Labor Code.

Article 113 of the Labor Code provides that no employer, in his own behalf or in behalf of any person, shall make
any deduction from the wages of his employees, except in cases where the employer is authorized by law or
regulations issued by the Secretary of Labor and Employment, among others. The Omnibus Rules Implementing the
Labor Code, meanwhile, provides:

SECTION 14. Deduction for loss or damage. – Where the employer is engaged in a trade, occupation or business
where the practice of making deductions or requiring deposits is recognized to answer for the reimbursement of
loss or damage to tools, materials, or equipment supplied by the employer to the employee, the employer may make
wage deductions or require the employees to make deposits from which deductions shall be made, subject to the
following conditions:

(a) That the employee concerned is clearly shown to be responsible for the loss or damage;

(b) That the employee is given reasonable opportunity to show cause why deduction should not be made;
(c) That the amount of such deduction is fair and reasonable and shall not exceed the actual loss or damage; and

(d) That the deduction from the wages of the employee does not exceed 20 percent of the employee’s wages in a
week.

In this case, the petitioner failed to sufficiently establish that Esteban was responsible for the negative variance it
had in its sales for the year 2005 to 2006 and that Esteban was given the opportunity to show cause the deduction
from her last salary should not be made. The Court cannot accept the petitioner’s statement that it is the practice in
the retail industry to deduct variances from an employee’s salary, without more. In Niña Jewelry Manufacturing of
Metal Arts, Inc. v. Montecillo,35 the Court ruled that:

[T]he petitioners should first establish that the making of deductions from the salaries is authorized by law, or
regulations issued by the Secretary of Labor. Further, the posting of cash bonds should be proven as a recognized
practice in the jewelry manufacturing business, or alternatively, the petitioners should seek for the determination
by the Secretary of Labor through the issuance of appropriate rules and regulations that the policy the former seeks
to implement is necessary or desirable in the conduct of business. The petitioners failed in this respect. It bears
stressing that without proofs that requiring deposits and effecting deductions are recognized practices, or without
securing the Secretary of Labor's determination of the necessity or desirability of the same, the imposition of new
policies relative to deductions and deposits can be made subject to abuse by the employers. This is not what the law
intends. – G.R. 192582, Bluer Than Blue v Esteban, April 7, 2014

Management Prerogative

It is axiomatic that appropriate disciplinary sanction is within the purview of management imposition.1 What should
not be overlooked is the prerogative of an employer company to prescribe reasonable rules and regulations
necessary for the proper conduct of its business and to provide certain disciplinary measures in order to implement
said rules to assure that the same would be complied with.2 Respondent then acted within its rights as an employer
when it decided to exercise its management prerogative to impose disciplinary measure on its erring employee. Soco
v. Mercantile Corporation of Davao, 232 Phil. 488, 494 (1987). Jimmy Areno Jr v Skycable PCC Baguio G.R. 180302,
Feb. 5, 2010

Management prerogative is that wide freedom of the management “to regulate, according to its own discretion and
judgment, all aspects of employment, including hiring, work assignments, working methods, time, place and manner
of work, processes to be followed, supervision of workers, working regulations, transfer of employees, work
supervision, lay off of workers and discipline, dismissal and recall of workers.” Julie’s Bakeshop and/or Edgar Reyes
v. Henry Arnaiz, et al., G.R. No. 173882, 15 February 2012

The right of an employer to regulate all aspects of employment, aptly called "management prerogative," gives
employers the freedom to regulate, according to their discretion and best judgment, all aspects of employment,
including work assignment, working methods, processes to be followed, working regulations, transfer of employees,
work supervision, lay-off of workers and the discipline, dismissal and recall of workers. Deles, Jr. v. NLRC, 384 Phil.
271, 281-282 (2000)
In this light, courts often decline to interfere in legitimate business decisions of employers. In fact, labor laws
discourage interference in employers' judgment concerning the conduct of their business. Phil. Industrial Security
Agency Corp. v. Aguinaldo, 499 Phil. 215, 225 (2005)

Among the employer's management prerogatives is the right to prescribe reasonable rules and regulations necessary
or proper for the conduct of its business or concern, to provide certain disciplinary measures to implement said rules
and to assure that the same would be complied with. At the same time, the employee has the corollary duty to obey
all reasonable rules, orders, and instructions of the employer; and willful or intentional disobedience thereto, as a
general rule, justifies termination of the contract of service and the dismissal of the employee. Malabago v. NLRC,
533 Phil. 292, 300 (2006)

Management Prerogative

The constitutional and legal protection equally recognize the employer’s right and prerogative to manage its
operation according to reasonable standards and norms of fair play.

Accordingly, except as limited by special law, an employer is free to regulate, according to his own judgment and
discretion, all aspects of employment, including hiring, work assignments, working methods, time, place and manner
of work, tools to beused, processes to be followed, supervision of workers, working regulations, transfer of
employees, worker supervision, layoff of workers and the discipline, dismissal and recall of workers.25 As a general
proposition, an employer has free reign over every aspect of its business, including the dismissal of his employees
as long as the exercise of its management prerogativeis done reasonably, in good faith, and in a manner not
otherwise intended to defeat or circumvent the rights of workers. IMASEN PHILIPPINE MANUFACTURING
CORPORATION, vs. RAMONCHITO T. ALCON and JOANN S. PAPA, G.R. No. 194884, October 22, 2014

SUSPENSION AS MANAGEMENT PREROGATIVE

The decision to suspend petitioner was rendered after investigation and a finding by respondent that petitioner has
indeed made malicious statements against a co-employee. The suspension was imposed due to a repeated infraction
within a deactivation period set by the company relating to a previous similar offense committed. It is axiomatic that
appropriate disciplinary sanction is within the purview of management imposition.3 What should not be overlooked
is the prerogative of an employer company to prescribe reasonable rules and regulations necessary for the proper
conduct of its business and to provide certain disciplinary measures in order to implement said rules to assure that
the same would be complied with.4 Respondent then acted within its rights as an employer when it decided to
exercise its management prerogative to impose disciplinary measure on its erring employee. Jimmy Areno Jr v
Skycable PCC Baguio G.R. 180302, Feb. 5, 2010

ABANDONMENT OF WORK

To constitute abandonment as a just cause for dismissal, there must be: (a) absence without justifiable reason; and
(b) a clear intention, as manifested by some overt act, to sever the employer-employee relationship.[10]
The records show that petitioners failed to prove that Lebatique abandoned his job. Nor was there a showing of a
clear intention on the part of Lebatique to sever the employer-employee relationship. When Lebatique was verbally
told by Alexander Uy, the companys General Manager, to look for another job, Lebatique was in effect dismissed.
Even assuming earlier he was merely suspended for illegal use of company vehicle, the records do not show that he
was afforded the opportunity to explain his side. It is clear also from the sequence of the events leading to Lebatiques
dismissal that it was Lebatiques complaint for nonpayment of his overtime pay that provoked the management to
dismiss him, on the erroneous premise that a truck driver is a field personnel not entitled to overtime pay. FAR EAST
AGRICULTURAL SUPPLY, INC. and/or ALEXANDER UY v JIMMY LEBATIQUE and THE HONORABLE COURT OF
APPEALS, G.R. No. 162813, February 12, 2007

CRITERIA FOR SUSPENSION/TERMINATION OF EMPLOYEES

Bad faith "implies a conscious and intentional design to do a wrongful act for a dishonest purpose or moral
obliquity."73 Cathay Pacific Airways v. Spouses Vazquez74 established that bad faith must be proven through clear
and convincing evidence.75 This is because "[b]adfaith and fraud . . . are serious accusations that can be so
conveniently and casually invoked, and that is why they are never presumed. They amount to mere slogans or
mudslinging unless convincingly substantiated by whoever is alleging them."76 Here, there was clear and convincing
evidence of bad faith adduced in the lower tribunals.

PAL’s actions in implicating Montinola and penalizing her for no clear reason show bad faith. PAL’s denial of her
request to clarify the charges against her shows its intent to do a wrongful act for moral obliquity. If it were acting
in good faith, it would have gathered more evidence from its contact in Honolulu or from other employees before it
started pointing fingers. PAL should not have haphazardly implicated Montinola and denied her livelihood even for
a moment.

PAL apparently granted Montinola procedural due process by giving her a notice of administrative charge and
conducting a hearing. However, this was more apparent than real. The notice of administrative charge did not specify
the acts committed by Montinola and how these acts violated PAL’s Code of Discipline. The notice did not state
which among the items confiscated by the US customs officials were originally found in Montinola’s possession.
Worse, the panel of PAL officers led by Atty. Pascual did not entertain any query toclarify the charges against her.
NANCY MONTINOLA V PAL, G.R. 198656, SEPTEMBER 8, 2014

TRANSFER OF EMPLOYEES

Concerning the transfer of employees, these are the following jurisprudential guidelines: (a) a transfer is a movement
from one position to another of equivalent rank, level or salary without break in the service or a lateral movement
from one position to another of equivalent rank or salary; (b) the employer has the inherent right to transfer or
reassign an employee for legitimate business purposes; (c) a transfer becomes unlawful where it is motivated by
discrimination or bad faith or is effected as a form of punishment or is a demotion without sufficient cause; (d) the
employer must be able to show that the transfer is not unreasonable, inconvenient, or prejudicial to the
employee.23 (Citations omitted)

In Philippine Japan Active Carbon Corporation v. NLRC,24 it was held that the exercise of management’s prerogative
concerning the employees’ work assignments is based on its assessment of the qualifications, aptitudes and
competence of its employees, and by moving them around in the various areas of its business operations it can
ascertain where they will function with maximum benefit to the company.1âwphi1

It is the employer’s prerogative, based on its assessment and perception of its employees’ qualifications, aptitudes,
and competence, to move them around in the various areas of its business operations in order to ascertain where
they will function with maximum benefit to the company. An employee’s right to security of tenure does not give
him such a vested right in his position as would deprive the company of its prerogative to change his assignment or
transfer him where he will be most useful. When his transfer is not unreasonable, nor inconvenient, nor prejudicial
to him, and it does not involve a demotion in rank or a diminution of his salaries, benefits, and other privileges,
the employee may not complain that it amounts to a constructive dismissal.25

As a privilege inherent in the employer’s right to control and manage its enterprise effectively, its freedom to conduct
its business operations to achieve its purpose cannot be denied.26 We agree with the appellate court that the
respondents are justified in moving the petitioner to another equivalent position, which presumably would be less
affected by her habitual tardiness or inconsistent attendance than if she continued as a Category Buyer, a "frontline
position" in the day-to-day business operations of a supermarket such as Robinsons.

If the transfer of an employee is not unreasonable, or inconvenient, or prejudicial to him, and it does not involve a
demotion in rank or a diminution of his salaries, benefits and other privileges, the employee may not complain that
it amounts to a constructive dismissal.

As we have already noted, the respondents had the burden of proof that the transfer of the petitioner was not
tantamount to constructive dismissal, which as defined in Blue Dairy Corporation v. NLRC,27 is a quitting because
continued employment is rendered impossible, unreasonable or unlikely, or an offer involving a demotion in rank
and diminution of pay:

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, as further held in Philippine Japan Active Carbon Corporation,28 when the transfer of an employee is not
unreasonable, or inconvenient, or prejudicial to him, and it does not involve a demotion in rank or a diminution of
his salaries, benefits and other privileges, the employee may not complain that it amounts to a constructive
dismissal.29

But like all other rights, there are limits to the exercise of managerial prerogative to transfer personnel, and on the
employer is laid the burden to show that the same is without grave abuse of discretion, bearing in mind the basic
elements of justice and fair play.30 Indeed, management prerogative may not be used as a subterfuge by the
employer to rid himself of an undesirable worker. JENNY F. PECKSON, vs. ROBINSONS SUPERMARKET
CORPORATION, JODY GADIA, ROENA SARTE, and RUBY ALEX, G.R. No. 198534, July 3, 2013.