What to do if I was out on maternity leave and then extended family leave but just found out 2 weeks before my return date that my position was eliminated?

They claim it happened before I left but no one told me. There was rearranging going on in the department before I left but I never got any suggestion I would lose my job. I had been there 18 years and never had a single complaint. Is this legal?

Asked on July 13, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

It is legal if the reason for the elimination is truly unconnected to either your pregnancy (which is protected) or your use of leave (which, depending on the type of leave you used, is likely protected, too). So if the department was legitimately being reorganized in a way that eliminated your position, either for organizational/restructuring reasons or for economic/cost cutting, it may be legitimate, though the timing is suspicious. Since the timing is so suspicious, you should either speak with an employement law attorney to explore this issue in more depth, or contact your state equal/civil rights agency and talk to them about the situation and possibly filing a complaint. If it turns out that there was no valid "neutral" reason, you may have a viable claim.

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