If I am injured in a car accident and miss work due to injury, can my boss demote me from my position?

Asked on May 22, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Oregon

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

As a general matter, employers do not have to retain (i.e. continue to employ) employees who miss work without authorization or excuse, even if they do so for very good, very understandable reasons--like an injury.

Since an employer could terminate someone who missed work, the employer could do things less than or short of termination, too--like demoting you.

The only times you *can't* be demoted for missing work:

1) You had the employer's specific approval or permission to miss it;

2) You used vacation, sick, personal, or other PTO days which you had earned to cover the absence, and you did so in compliance with all employer rules and policies for such days.

3) Your employer was covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)--which means it has at least 50 employees--and you were elibible under the Act, too--which means you have worked for this employer for a total of at least 12 months, and have worked 1,250 hours or more in the last 12 months--and you took FMLA leave.

(Some states also have their own leave laws, but their requirements generally track FMLA's fairly closely, so if you were not eligible for leave under FMLA, you are not likely to be eligible under state law.)

Apart from the above, you may be demoted for missing work.


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