What are my rights regarding family leave and a demotion?

UPDATED: Oct 19, 2012

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What are my rights regarding family leave and a demotion?

I had to take leave from my job as an RN full-time due to divorce pending and both of my parents that are out of state getting diagnosed with colon cancer and needed surgery immediately. I’m here still in and they both got infected surgical wounds so Im packing wounds twice a day and am unable to return to work until later next month. My boss has demoted me from Assistant Director of Nursing to floor nurse because as he stated I won’t wait for her to return next month and I sure as hell ain’t waiting for her to return ifor 2 months. My doctor has me off work for stress and started me on anti-depressants too . Can they do that?

Asked on October 19, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, California


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Not every employer is covered by FMLA and the Calfornia equivalent... but considering that you have a director of nursing position-- it looks like it is probably large enough to be included.  If your employer is large enough to be covered and you otherwise qualifed for FMLA leave, then the employer could technically put someone else in your position while you are gone--- however.... upon your return from an approved FMLA they would be required to return you to a similar position with similar pay and benefits. 

You mention that you took a "leave", but you don't specify whether or not it was an approved FMLA leave.  You need to tell your employer that you do want FMLA leave and the associated paperwork for both events:  your parent's illness and your current condition.  Instead of talking with a manager that doesn't seem to understand FMLA law, talk to HR and make sure that they have your correct paperwork.  If you have not completed your application for FMLA leave, get it done asap so that you can protect your job.

If you have troubles beyond that with your employer, consider visiting with an employment law attorney or visiting the agency website that helps with FMLA leave enforcement in California.  Their website is:  http://www.dfeh.ca.gov/

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