What are my rights upon returning to work after maternity leave?

I work in the fashion industry. I just returned from maternity leave and discovered through the freelancer that was covering my position that she will continue working on my line. My manager and VP have denied this. Meanwhile, the freelancer is working on my line from home and my manager has assigned me a different role. She is still denying the freelancer will continue to work there although I have heard otherwise. Do I have any legal footing as I feel my role has changed due to my maternity?

Asked on September 3, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If you took maternity leave--

* pursuant to the Family and Medical Leave Act or similar state law

* pursuant to an agreement or contract with your employer that let you do this

* or by using sufficient paid time off (e.g. vacation or sick days) to cover your absence

--then you entitled to be re-employed. However, that means that you must employed at approximately the same salary and approximately the same level--i.e. you can't suffer a significant demotion or pay cut. However, the employer is not required to keep in the same position or same role you had previously; you get *a* job back, but not necessarily the identical one and duties you held before the leave.


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