Do i have to accept a lesser job with lesser pay upon returning to work from LOA if I have restrictions?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Do i have to accept a lesser job with lesser pay upon returning to work from LOA if I have restrictions?

I am returning to work from a leave of absence. My doctor has placed some minor restrictions, and my employer is saying they cannot accommodate those restrictions in my current job and there are no comparable jobs available that meet with my restrictions. However, they are offering me a lesser job with substantially less pay. Do they have to give me my previous salary or do I have to take the pay reduction?

Asked on February 16, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Nevada


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If you cannot do the key aspects of your job due to the restrictions (whether you consider them "minor" or not, the issue is whether they interfere with your job), you employer is NOT required to 1) keep you in a job you cannot do (and pay your for a job you can't do) or 2) move you to another job: you must be able to do all the important aspects of your job or you could be terminated. (Employers do not have to retain employees who cannot do their jobs.) In this instance, since the employer could terminate you, they could legally offer you the alternative of a different, lower paying job.
If the restrictions do not stop you from doing the important functions of your job, they had to make a "reasonable accommodation" to those restrictions and restore you to the same job or one of substantially the same pay and seniority, benefits, etc.
Examples: say there is a restriction on how much you can stand or walk--
1) If you are a cashier and cashiers usually stand, but clearly do not have to (they can work the register while sitting), the employer would have to give you a stool or chair to use, let you sit, and restore your job.
2) If you are nurse working on the floor at a hospital or a person who has to find stuff on warehouse shelves and carry them to the loading bay, then if you can't walk or stand a lot, you could not do your job--the employer could terminate you or offer you a lesser job.

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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