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demoted after maternity leave

On Lawyer & Legal » Employment & Labor Law

4,514 words with 5 Comments; publish: Mon, 29 Aug 2005 17:29:00 GMT; (80093.75, « »)

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  • 5 Comments
    • Thanks, grasmicc -- sorry to be late in replying. I would have said exactly what you said.

      Cynthia

      #1; Thu, 01 Sep 2005 13:40:00 GMT
    • I don't agree with Sockeye. I think the original post may have been deleted, so not all the facts are here, but if I recall correctly, her leave was FMLA protected. That means she has to be returned to the same or a similar position. Employers are not permitted to evade this requirement willy-nilly by claiming "restructuring" -- only if there is a legitimate reorganization (e.g., typically affecting a number of employees, typically planned far in advance of notice that someone was going on leave, typically tied to identifiable company objectives) can an employer legally change the position of an employee returning from FMLA protected leave. Here, the "restructuring" affected only one person, and there were no larger corporate plans or objectives at stake. If she sues for an FMLA violation, my money is on her.

      Too often, women returning from maternity leave are fired, demoted, forced into part-time, or otherwise mistreated for no reason other than the fact that they are new mothers and their employers fear they will no longer be productive employees. The FMLA and Title VII prohibit this in many workplaces; state statutes may prohibit in even more workplaces. Mothers need to understand their rights, and employers need to educate themselves so they don't end up on the wrong side of a jury verdict.

      Mothers and employers can get more information at www.worklifelaw.org.

      Cynthia

      *Note: the foregoing is provided for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.*

      Hi Cynthia,

      She was back from FMLA for two months before her postion was downsized. Is their a recognized period that it would be okay to make changes in the structure of the business?

      #2; Wed, 31 Aug 2005 21:04:00 GMT
    • I don't agree with Sockeye. I think the original post may have been deleted, so not all the facts are here, but if I recall correctly, her leave was FMLA protected. That means she has to be returned to the same or a similar position. Employers are not permitted to evade this requirement willy-nilly by claiming "restructuring" -- only if there is a legitimate reorganization (e.g., typically affecting a number of employees, typically planned far in advance of notice that someone was going on leave, typically tied to identifiable company objectives) can an employer legally change the position of an employee returning from FMLA protected leave. Here, the "restructuring" affected only one person, and there were no larger corporate plans or objectives at stake. If she sues for an FMLA violation, my money is on her.

      Too often, women returning from maternity leave are fired, demoted, forced into part-time, or otherwise mistreated for no reason other than the fact that they are new mothers and their employers fear they will no longer be productive employees. The FMLA and Title VII prohibit this in many workplaces; state statutes may prohibit in even more workplaces. Mothers need to understand their rights, and employers need to educate themselves so they don't end up on the wrong side of a jury verdict.

      Mothers and employers can get more information at www.worklifelaw.org.

      Cynthia

      *Note: the foregoing is provided for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.*

      #3; Tue, 30 Aug 2005 07:24:00 GMT
    • Nothing is that simple in law, Sockeye. A fact-finder (jury, judge, depending) would try to figure out whether the reorginization was legitimate or just constructed for purposes of demoting this woman. To do that the fact-finder would have to look at the totality of the circumstances and known facts.

      Certainly the amount of time that passed between her coming back and the demotion occurring would be a consideration, but it is not controlling. The demotion could have occurred 25 years after the FMLA, and if, in evidence, were a memo among the relevant people at the company in which they said "I think we should demote so-and-so because she took FMLA 25 years ago, and might do it again in the future." then sounds like she would be able to recover.

      #4; Thu, 01 Sep 2005 09:10:00 GMT
    • Sue for what?

      They downsized the position, gave you an alternative that you accepted. They did not have to offer you an alternative at all. Even if you were still on family leave their restructuring of the position and laying you off would have been legal.

      Your alternative is to look for a new job.

      #5; Mon, 29 Aug 2005 19:36:00 GMT