If I’m on light duty for a pregnancy related condition, lifting restrictions, etc., can my employer reduce my hours?

It has been established that there is more than 42 hours of work I can do under my restriction, even though I may not be able to do everything that was listed under my job description. However, my employer has cut my hours from 42 a week to 35. My doctor has no problem with me working 42 hours a week. Can they do this? I am not costing them extra money, after my unpaid leave 12 weeks planned and the cost of a temp filling the spot I am saving the company around $2,500 off of my budgeted wages this year.

Asked on September 19, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Yes, they are allowed to reduce you hours if, as you say "I may not be able to do everything listed under my job description." Your employer is entitled to reduce your hours if you cannot do all your job tasks. It may not be wise or fair, but any time an employee cannot do all aspects of her job, the employer may reduce hours or even, in some cases, suspend or even terminate, such as if it is critical job functions which the employee cannot do.
The employer cannot, however, take FMLA away from you, or threaten or harass you for using FMLA if you are entitled to FMLA leave i.e. your employer is, given its size, covered, and you are eligible for the leave, given the hours and time you have worked, you are allowed to use the leave as made available to you by to by law--an employer may not interfere with your legal rights. If they try to do so, you may have a claim for FMLA-related retaliation, and could speak to the federal or your state's department of labor, and/or speak with an employment law attorney about possibly bringing a lawsuit.


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