What are my rights if I was not given back the responsibilities that I had prior to taking maternity leave?

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What are my rights if I was not given back the responsibilities that I had prior to taking maternity leave?

I am back from my maternity leave. My manager told me that I am not getting back some of the responsibilities she allocated while I was gone because she wants other people to grow. I said I am happy if people want to grown but not in my expense. I asked about a specific role I had, she said it no longer exists. She even told me to look around to see if there is anything else that interests me. She did not offer me anything else to compensate what she took away from me.

Asked on January 27, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

First, if you did not use Family and Medical Leave Act leave, leave under an equivalent state law, or leave guaranteed to you by a contract, there is no right to maternity leave; that is, in the absence of the above, an employer does not have to provide maternity leave at all. Since they don't have to provide maternity leave, they may take action--such as changing responsibilities--as a consequnce of leave, if they let you take it.

(Note: to qualify for FMLA leave--and most state laws have similar requirements--the employer must be large enough, which is at least 50 employees located within a 75-mile radius, and you must have worked there, more-or-less full time, for a year.)

If you did take leave pursuant  to FMLA, a similar state law, or a contract, then you should not be punished for using the leave. However, in this context, that means you should not have your pay reduced, benefits taken away, or demoted. It does not mean that your employer may not manage its business, reassign responsibilities, or support other employees, so long as it does not reduce your pay, benefits, or take other such concrete negative action against you. Even when your use of leave is protected, that does not mean that nothing may change.

However, if you did use FMLA or other protected leave and suffered a loss of compensation or benefits, a demotion, etc., you may have a legal claim, and should speak with an employment attorney.


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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