Can my employer give away part of my role/shifts after maternity leave?

I work as a part-time human resources administrator for a retail chain. Prior to maternity leave, I performed a payroll function on Sundays. I had been doing this job alone, every Sunday, prior to

my first maternity leave. When I came back the first time in 2 years ago, I was told I now had to share these shifts and alternate with the woman who covered my leave. I just went on leave 3 months ago for the birth of my second child. A new woman took over my half of the Sunday shifts. I contacted my boss to return to work after my recent release, and am scheduled to start next week. I

received an email about scheduling and have now been told that my Sunday’s have been cut even further and that the new woman who helped cover will be taking a permanent part in the Sunday rotation. My Sunday work comes at a premium rate and was the only real perk worth keeping the job. I had confronted my boss after my first child was born, and was told he couldn’t give me all the shifts, however I could get extra work in another department. The other department requires me to start at 4 am, but as a breastfeeding mother, I can’t be away that early, and can’t do the job because

of my pumping needs. Can my employer remove these shifts from me? I feel like I am being

punished for taking maternity leave and what was part of my role for years has now been cut back twice.

Asked on October 21, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Connecticut

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

An employer may change an employee's job, shifts, hours, etc. after maternity leave for valid reasons unrelated to the leave: e.g. a restructuring or reorganization, cost cutting due to business problems, etc. What they can't do is punish her or retaliate against her for being pregnant or using maternity leave, so if there is no independent, valid reason for this, then it may be illegal workplace discrimination. If you think that there is no good reason for the change other than to retaliate againt you, contact the federal EEOC or your state's equal/civil rights agency about filing a complaint.


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