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Related to kick upstairs: kicking around
kick (one) upstairs
To promote one to a position that is higher but undesirable or that has little actual responsibility or authority. They kicked John upstairs to an assistant manager position so he would stop griping about his pay.
Promote someone to a higher but less desirable position, especially one with less authority. For example, Paul never forgave the company for kicking him upstairs at age 55. This expression alludes to its antonym, kick downstairs, simply meaning "eject." [Mid-1900s]
To promote to a higher yet less desirable position.