Upon an employee’s return from sick leave, can an employer change them from full-time as per written contract to 2 days pay?

UPDATED: Jan 9, 2012

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Upon an employee’s return from sick leave, can an employer change them from full-time as per written contract to 2 days pay?

Can employer change a written hiring contract for full-time to only 2 days a week? Is it legal? Also, can it then offer my job to a different person? New rehab company started 5 months ago. I missed 6 weeks for medical reasons, then when back to work, employer only permitted me to work part-time 2 not 5 days per week. The other 3 days covered by a different person.

Asked on January 9, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Minnesota


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

1) If you took legally protected sick leave, like leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), you may not be retaliated against for using the leave--though you may have hours changed or reduced for other legitimate reasons, such as changes in the amount or scheduling of work. If you took FMLA leave and feel you have been retaliated against, you should speak with an employment lawyer about the specifics of your case, to see if you have a claim and what it might be worth.

2) Note, however, that if you did not use leave, like FMLA leave, guaranteed by law, but rather took leave that your employer voluntarily choose to allow you, you have no such protection--the employer may now reduce your hours.

3) As to the contract--the contract is enforceable as per its terms. If the contract would allow a reduction in your hours, then that is legal. You need to reference the specific terms of the contract to see what is and is not legal; if in doubt, an attorney can review the contract for you, to help you understand your rights.

4) If you are not protected by a contract or by a medical leave law (like FMLA), your employer could give your job to another.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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