Look up demotion in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
A demotion is a compulsory reduction in an employee's rank or job title within the organizational hierarchy of a company, public service department, or other body. A demotion may also lead to the loss of other privileges associated with a more senior rank and/or a reduction in salary or benefits. An employee may be demoted for violating the rules of the organization by a behavior such as excessive lateness, misconduct, or negligence. In some cases, though, an employee may be demoted as an alternative to being laid off, if the company is facing a financial crisis. A move to a position at the same rank or level elsewhere in the organization is called a lateral move or deployment. A voluntary move to a lower level is also a deployment as it is not a compulsory reduction in level. Demotion is often misinterpreted simply as the opposite of a promotion, however it is only one means of undergoing a reduction in work level.
Within the continuum of disciplinary options available within most organizations, a demotion falls in the middle range of severity. Minor violations of rules, or the first violation of a rule will typically result in a verbal or written warning or a suspension without pay. At the other extreme, for severe violations of the rules, such as embezzlement or sabotage, an employee will typically be fired and/or the company will file criminal or civil charges. In sportsleagues, when teams are transferred between divisions, the worst-ranked teams in the higher division are relegated (or demoted) to the lower division.