Can an employer replace your job and then cut your hours while you are on maternity leave?

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Can an employer replace your job and then cut your hours while you are on maternity leave?

I am currently on maternity leave from my job. I work at a smaller company of about 10 or so employees. When I called my boss to inquire about my returning to work, she stated that she had hired someone to do my original job and then hired someone else to do my other job and therefore didn’t have any full time work for me so I would have to come back at part time. I am trying to find out if this is legal or not.

Asked on June 20, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Your company is too small to be covered by the maternity leave related laws, such as the family and medical leave act (FMLA). That means that your employer was not obligated to provide you maternity leave, and more importantly, that your position was not protected by law whle on leave they chose to let you have. That in turn means that if there was a legitimate business reason for their actions--such as having to get the job done, since they are a small company--they could replace your job and/or reduce your hours. The law generally recognizes that business as small as this can't run if they are forced to provide leave while also holding the employee's job open.


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