Can an employer reduce/change your hours after you return from maternity leave?

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Can an employer reduce/change your hours after you return from maternity leave?

I knowthey have to keep your job if it’s still available, etc. I’m asking specifically about hours. My daughter was working 32 hours. Then she had maternity leave (she took 8 weeks) and when she returned, her employer told her she had to change her hours, no reason given. She told them she couldn’t work Sundays and later time on Mondays (she wasn’t before the leave). So they reduced her hours to 27. Can they do that?

Asked on September 27, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Connecticut

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

It depends on the circumstances. The employer can't cut her hours or give her a less-advantageous shift because she used FMLA leave or maternity leave which the company provided, was pregnant, or is a woman. However, they can change her hours for legitimate business reasons, such as a shift in the hours they are open, changes in when they are busy or how much work they have, because they have reallocated or moved around staff (including when she was out--they are entitled to manage their business, which can involve redeploying staff, while someone is out on leave), etc. So the issue is the reason for the change: is it improper retaliation or punishment, or is it a legitimate business reason? If your daughter thinks its was improper, she should discuss the matter with an employment attorney.


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