Work assignments

1. Concept

“Work assignments” – refer to the work-related tasks, duties, and responsibilities.

a. Management prerogative

As part of its management prerogative, the employer has the right and prerogative to decide who among its employees are best qualified and suitable to do a work-related task, duty, or responsibility.

“Under the doctrine of management prerogative, every employer has the inherent right to regulate, according to his own discretion and judgment, all aspects of employment, including… work assignments.” (Rural Bank of Cantilan, Inc. v. Julve, G.R. No. 169750, 27 February 2007)

2. Work assignments

Work assignments may come from various sources, including but not limited to:

1) Job description;

2) Employment contract;

3) Newly assigned tasks; and

4) Business exigency.

a. Job description

When a job vacancy is posted, it usually already provides for work assignments in the form of duties and responsibilities. By these, applicants would be able to assess themselves if they are skilled and/or suitable in doing the required work.

Conversely, the employer would already be able to communicate to would-be applicants what the is expected from the job, role, or position.

b. Employment contract

While generally the job description’s duties and responsibilities are reflected in the employment contract, there are cases wherein the employment contract provides for additional tasks and responsibilities, particularly if there are changes in the workplace or as a result of the discussions with the signing employee.

c. Newly assigned tasks

In course of their employment, employees may be given newly assigned tasks which may not have been previously stated in either the job description and/or the employment contract. However, it should be emphasized that the giving of these new tasks should be done in good faith. These means that these new tasks are reasonably necessary for the work and the employees have the reasonable competence to be able to perform and deliver.

If the new tasks were given as a pre-text for dismissing employees for failing to perform such responsibilities, then the employer is deemed to be in bad faith and thus may be held liable for illegal dismissal. For instance, an ordinary administrative assistant cannot reasonably be expected to do computer programming or coding and thus assigning her such a new task is not reasonable.

d. Business exigency

For cases requiring immediate action, employers may temporarily assign certain employees to perform work in order to avoid any serious consequences or effects on the establishment. For example, to avoid overheating, an office worker may temporarily be tasked to monitor a certain machine or equipment which would have been the task of an engineer who may be absent. If the task only entails monitoring of the temperature and turning off the switch in case it reaches a certain degree, then the employee may reasonably be expected to perform such a task.

/Updated: December 28, 2022

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