Can I be forced to take a severance package while on FMLA?

I am on maternity leave using FMLA. My employer has eleminated my position and is offering either a demotion or a severance package. Can they do this while I am on maternity/FMLA leave? Does the employer have to wait until I return to work to change my employment status?

Asked on June 4, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Indiana


Archibald J Thomas / Law Offices of Archibald J. Thomas, III, P.A. - Employee Rights Lawyers

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Yes.  The law does not prohibit them from eliminating your position while on FMLA leave.  The law prohibits the employer from terminating you because of your pregnancy or because you have taken FMLA leave.  However, they can take any action they would have taken anyway, including the elimination of your position.  Since you did not say what position you held nor how many other employees, if any, hold this position, it is hard to say whether there are possible legal issues.  For example, if you beleive you should not have been the one selected for elimination and that it should properly have been someone else, you may still have a potential claim under the FMLA or the Pregnancy Discrimination laws.  On the other hand, if your position was truly and legitimately emliminated, it is not likely you would have a viable claim under these laws.

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