What are my rights if my job given away while I was on maternity leave?

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What are my rights if my job given away while I was on maternity leave?

I am a freelance T- director. I took over almost full time a position when someone left the job. I did great job with no complaints. I went on maternity for 6 weeks and before and during leave I kept emailing scheduling at company to inform them that I’m coming back soon and I want to continue with my job since It’s perfect for me. Upon returning to work, I realized that I was no longer needed since the job I worked hard for was given away to 3 men who would divide the week among them instead of giving me the job to do 5 days week. I feel I was punished for leaving to go have a baby since I lost my gig.

Asked on February 3, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, New Jersey

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

The courts have ruled that independent contractors are not protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”), and the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). In other wordes, these statutes protect only employees. Accordingly, if you were not an "employee" but rather an "independent contractor", you have no claim here, since you had no legal protection regarding your job while on maternity leave.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If you were truly a freelancer or independent contractor, as you indicate, there was no obligation to hold your job for you, unfortunately. Only employees may have rights to re-employment after maternity leave, such as under the FMLA or state law; freelancers/independent contractors have no right to come back to their work.


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