Can an employer demote an at-will employee solely due to kidney stones

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can an employer demote an at-will employee solely due to kidney stones

I was recently promoted to lead at a security firm. I have kidney
stones and have to have surgery to remove them and will be missing
some work. My employer decided to demote me because of this, and I’m
trying to find out if that is medical discrimination or against the
employment act?

Asked on August 19, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Arizona


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

It is not legal if you had and stated you were using paid time off (like sick or vacation days) which you earned to cover the absence, since then you are being effectively deprived of part of your compensation (the PTO you worked for), since you can't take advantage of that compensation without repurcussion. It's also not legal if your company was covered by, you were eligible for, and you used FMLA leave, since then that would be illegal retaliation for using a benefit given to by the law. (You can find the criteria for FMLA and when it's available on the U.S. Department of Labor website). If either of these is the case, contact the state department of labor and/or speak with an employment lawyer about possibly  suing.
But if you were missing work without using PTO or FMLA, it is likely legal: an employer does not need to let an employee miss work, even for health reasons, unless they use PTO or FMLA, and may take action against emloyees who do miss work.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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