I returned to work from FMLA in VT, after 10 weeks, and was demoted and company car taken away….was told my new position i have to use my own car and get 21 cents a mile for mileage. is this legal

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I returned to work from FMLA in VT, after 10 weeks, and was demoted and company car taken away….was told my new position i have to use my own car and get 21 cents a mile for mileage. is this legal

I was out on an authorized FMLA, in VT, and approved for 12 weeks. I was only out 10. The first day back I was told I no longer am a District Manager. That I am now a mutli-unit supervisor of 2 stores, instead of 4,, at the same pay, but no company car, and no cell phone reimbursemt, as I had as a district manager of 4 stores. I am required to have a cell phone for this position. I now have to use my own car and get 21 cents per mile for mileage, after the first 30 miles.

Asked on November 14, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Vermont

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If there was a valid reason unrelated to your leave for this, it would clearly be legal: e.g. if you'd had performance issues, or if they were restructuring how they managed their stores, or were cutting costs by cutting back on company cars, etc.
If there was no unrelated reason, it *may* be illegal. The reason I say "may" is that FMLA does not guaranty you the identifical position when you return--just a comparable one. And "comparable" does not mean exactly the same. You write you pay is the same, and pay is the biggest single item in determining comparability; if you pay is the same, it's not 100% clear that going from District Manager of 4 to multi-unit supervisor of 2 is not comparable enough as to be legal; similarly, it's not clear that getting mileage reimbursement is not comparable enough to a company car. You can certain try filing a complaint with the state Department of Labor, but it may be the case that you are still in comparable enough a position that this was legal.


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