Can my employer reduce my role after maternity leave?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can my employer reduce my role after maternity leave?

I work part time for a nonprofit with less than 20
employees. Before my maternity leave I had
multiple responsibilities and logged an average
of 15-20 hours a week. Upon returning to work,
my role has been reduced delegated and
outsourced. I now anticipate logging just 5-10
hours per week.

Asked on February 19, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

They cannot reduce your role (or hours or pay) because you were pregnant, had a baby, or went on maternity leave: doing so would very likely be illegal sex-based employment discrimination (since only women become pregnant, treating an  employee worse due to pregnancy or maternity is generally considered anti-female discrimination). If you believe this is what happened, you could contact your state's equal/civil rights agency or the federal EEOC about filing a complaint.
You can have your role, hours, pay, etc. reduced after maternity for valid and wholly unrelated reasons, such as if they have lost grants or funding and needed to reduce and/or outsource your role for economic/financial reasons having nothing to do with maternity.

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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