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ASUFRIN v.

SAN MIGUEL CORPORATION


G.R. No. 156658; 10 Mar 2004; YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.

I. Facts:
a. Asufrin was hired as a utility/misc. worker in a Coca-Cola plant. He eventually became a
regular employee, and was finally assigned as a stock clerk.
b. However, reorganization at their office resulted in the abolishment of several positions,
including Asufrin’s, though he was reassigned as warehouse checker at the Sum-ag Sales
Office.
c. Years later, SMC implemented a new marketing system (pre-selling scheme) at the Sum-
ag office. Asufrin’s position, among others, was declared redundant.
d. SMC informed Asufrin of the changes. Asufrin, at this point, would report to the
Personnel Department at the Sta. Fe Brewery.
e. Eventually, the employees were given a choice to avail of early retirement, or to be
redeployed or reassigned to other officers. Asufrin chose the latter, but for some reason,
he was included in the list of employees who opted to avail of early retirement. His
protests were ignored by their personnel manager.
f. As a result, he filed a complaint for illegal dismissal. LA dismissed the complaint. NLRC
reversed it and ordered reinstatement with full backwages. CA reversed the NLRC
decision.
II. Issues:
a. Whether or not the dismissal based on ‘redundancy’ was proper.
III. Held:
a. No, it was not; the circumstances of the dismissal show that there was actually no basis
for dismissal due to redundancy, and that there were better alternatives.
IV. Ratio:
a. No, it was not; the circumstances of the dismissal show that there was actually no basis
for dismissal due to redundancy, and that there were better alternatives.
i. Redundancy is indeed a valid cause for dismissal, but it must be well justified by
the situation.
1. Dole v NLRC: Redundancy occurs when there is a duplication of work,
where the said duplication exceeds the reasonable requirements of an
enterprise such that it becomes a superfluity. (e.g. of situations:
overhiring of workers, dropping of certain services)
2. Redundancy is a business decision that normally cannot be reviewed
unless it can be shown that there was no valid justification for the
dismissal. This requires an examination of the circumstances of the
business vis-à-vis the employees.
ii. Several circumstances show that Asufrin’s dismissal based on redundancy was
improper:
1. The petitioner clearly manifested a desire to remain, even willing to be
demoted just to continue employment, yet he was placed in the early
retirement list. Other employees who were not as vigilant were allowed
to remain.
2. Petitioner was actually in the payroll of the Sta. Fe Brewery, but was
merely assigned to the Sum-ag warehouse. Even if the Sum-ag positions
were abolished, he was only supposed to return to the Sta. Fe Brewery.
3. The Sum-ag Office was not exactly closed—it was still used to keep
stocks and as a transit point given its strategic location. (closure earlier
was unnecessary, must have actually been a mere cost-cutting measure)
4. Finally, there was no basis for dismissing Asufrin instead of the other
employees. He was not less preferred, less senior, etc.
iii. The court found these circumstances analogous to a previous case also involving
San Miguel Corporation, where they also reinstated the employee that was
dismissed for a similar reason.
1. The court stressed that although redundancy and retrenchment are
valid basis for dismissal, these must observe the fundamentals of good
faith, which was lacking in the decision SMC made.