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Monday, August 13, 2012

Duncan vs. Glaxo Case Digest

Duncan Assoc. of Detailman-PTGWO vs. Glaxo Wellcome Phils., Inc.

G.R. No. 162994, September 17, 2004


FACTS:

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...

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

RULING:

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.

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