Is it legal if I was out of maternity leave for 12 weeks and when I came back to work had my primary job taken away and was locked out of most of my other primary jobs in our software system?

Can they do this to me?

Asked on February 25, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Oklahoma


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

The issue is two-fold:
1) Did you use a protected form of family or maternity leave, like leave available under the Family and Medical Leave Act or FMLA? If you did, then your job is protected (see below), but if you did not use a legally protected form of leave, theh the employer had no obligation to hold your job as was and could reassign you or change your job at will.
2) Even if you used protected leave (see above) have you lost pay, benefits, or, for want of a better term, "seniority"--e.g. were you given a less senior, less prestigious title? When you use protected leave, you can't suffer negative or adverse consequences, but that doesn't meant that the employer can't change your job or duties--the employer is still allowed to manage its business. So if you have the same compensation as you did and an equally good title, they can change your primary duties; but if they lowered your title/level or reduced your compensation when you used protected leave, that may be illegal and you should contact the federal EEOC or your state's equal/civil rights agency.

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