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Apr 17, 2008

438 SCRA 343


Tecson was hired by Glaxo as a medical representative on Oct. 24, 1995. Contract of employment signed by Tecson stipulates, among others, that he agrees to study and abide by the existing company rules; to disclose to management any existing future relationship by consanguinity or affinity with co-employees or employees with competing drug companies and should management find that such relationship poses a prossible conflict of interest, to resign from the company. Company's Code of Employee Conduct provides the same with stipulation that management may transfer the employee to another department in a non-counterchecking position or preparation for employment outside of the company after 6 months.

Tecson was initially assigned to market Glaxo's products in the Camarines Sur-Camarines Norte area and entered into a romantic relationship with Betsy, an employee of Astra, Glaxo's competition. Before getting married, Tecson's District Manager reminded him several times of the conflict of interest but marriage took place in Sept. 1998. In Jan. 1999, Tecson's superiors informed him of conflict of intrest. Tecson asked for time to comply with the condition (that either he or Betsy resign from their respective positions). Unable to comply with condition, Glaxo transferred Tecson to the Butuan-Surigao City-Agusan del Sur sales area. After his request against transfer was denied, Tecson brought the matter to Glaxo's Grievance Committee and while pending, he continued to act as medical representative in the Camarines Sur-Camarines Norte sales area. On Nov. 15, 2000, the National Conciliation and Mediation Board ruled that Glaxo's policy was valid...


Whether or not the policy of a pharmaceutical company prohibiting its employees from marrying employees of any competitor company is valid


On Equal Protection

Glaxo has a right to guard its trade secrets, manufacturing formulas, marketing strategies, and other confidential programs and information from competitors. The prohibition against pesonal or marital relationships with employees of competitor companies upon Glaxo's employees is reasonable under the circumstances because relationships of that nature might compromise the interests of the company. That Glaxo possesses the right to protect its economic interest cannot be denied.

It is the settled principle that the commands of the equal protection clause are addressed only to the state or those acting under color of its authority. Corollarily, it has been held in a long array of US Supreme Court decisions that the equal protection clause erects to shield against merely privately conduct, however, discriminatory or wrongful.

The company actually enforced the policy after repeated requests to the employee to comply with the policy. Indeed the application of the policy was made in an impartial and even-handed manner, with due regard for the lot of the employee.

On Constructive Dismissal

Constructive dismissal is defined as a quitting, an involuntary resignation resorted to when continued employment becomes impossible, unreasonable or unlikely; when there is demotion in rank, or diminution in pay; or when a clear discrimination, insensibility, or disdain by an employer becomes unbearable to the employee. None of these conditions are present in the instant case.


The challenged policy has been implemented by Glaxo impartially and disinterestedly for a long period of time. In the case at bar, the record shows that Glaxo gave Tecson several chances to eliminate the conflict of interest brought about by his relationship with Betsy, but he never availed of any of them.


"WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED for lack of merit."


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