Giving employees work rotations or reassignments from time-to-time is healthy and in fact encouraged by most management gurus to promote employee satisfaction and development. But when will reassignment and constructive dismissal mean the same thing in the government?
In the Philippine civil service (career or non-career), reassignment of employees appointed to first level (non-professional/sub-professional) and second-level (professional/technical/scientific) positions is governed by CSC Memorandum Circular No. 2, s. 2005. The MC gives the guidelines in order to determine if a reassignment is valid or not.
Important portions of the MC is reproduced below –
- Reassignment of employees with station-specific place of work indicated in their respective appointments shall be allowed only for a maximum period of one (1) year. An appointment is considered station-specific when the particular office or station where the position located is specifically indicated on the face of the appointment paper. Station-specific appointment does not refer to a specified plantilla item number since it is used for purposes of identifying the particular position to be filled or occupied by the employee.
- If appointment is not station specific, the one-year maximum period shall not apply. Thus, reassignment of employees whose appointments do not specifically indicate the particular office or place of work has no definite period unless otherwise revoked or recalled by the Head of Agency, the CSC or a competent court.
- If an appointment is not station specific, reassignment to an organizational unit within the same building or from one building to another, or contiguous to each other in one work area or compound is allowed. Organizational unit refers to sections, divisions, and departments within an organization.
- Reassignment outside geographical location if with consent shall have no limit. However, if it is without consent, reassignment shall be for one year only. Reassignment outside geographical location may be from one RO to another RO or from the RO to the CO and vice-versa.
- Reassignment is presumed to be regular and made in the interest of public service unless proven otherwise or if it constitutes constructive dismissal. Constructive dismissal exists when an official or employee quits his or her work because of the agency head’s unreasonable, humiliating, or demeaning actuations, which render continued work impossible because of geographic location, financial dislocation and performance of other duties and responsibilities inconsistent with those attached to the position. Hence, the employee is deemed illegally dismissed. This may occur although there is no diminution or reduction in rank, status or salary of the employee.
The MC also determines the kinds of reassignments which can be considered as constructive dismissal of an employee:
- Reassignment of an employee to perform duties and responsibilities inconsistent with the duties and responsibilities of his/her position such as from a position of dignity to a more servile or menial job.
- Reassignment to an office not in the existing organizational structure;
- Reassignment to an existing office but the employee is not given any definite duties and responsibilities;
- Reassignment that will cause significant financial dislocation or will cause difficulty or hardship on the part of the employee because of geographic location; and
- Reassignment that is done indiscriminately or whimsically because the law is not intended as a convenient shield for the appointing/disciplining authority to harass or oppress a subordinate on the pretext of advancing and promoting public interest.
An employee who is reassigned in contravention of the guidelines set by the MC may appeal their reassignment to the CSC Regional Office exercising jurisdiction (by geographical boundaries) over his/her agency. Pending appeal with the CSC, a reassignment order is not immediately executory. The employee also has no duty to first report to the new place of assignment prior to questioning an alleged invalid reassignment imposed upon him/her (Republic of the Philippines vs. Minerva MP Pacheco, G.R. No. 178021, January 25, 2012).