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Hello and thank you for contacting JA. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will be answering your question today. I am a practicing employment lawyer in CA and my goal is to provide you with legal insight and information in to your question. I am so sorry to hear about this situation, and I ask that you please understand that the law is sometimes unfair and does not support the position we would prefer. My duty is to give you an accurate answer, even if it is not really what you want to hear! With that said, in CA you are deemed an at will employee since you do not have an employment contract, nor are you a government employee. If you have a union, file a grievance immediately. I am so sorry that your insurance has been terminated due to part time status, but your doctor would not be able to be of much help at this point. By law, an employer is generally not required to keep your job longer than the 12 weeks of FMLA. After that, the employer is allowed to fill your position, and in turn, it is allowed to reduce your hours and offer you employment that is 'less than' your job duties and status prior to disability.
The one caveat here is that if you remain able to do your job even with the restrictions, and there is a same or similar position available, you are entitled to that position. However, if your restrictions render you unable to perform the essential functions of your job duties, or the position has been permanently filled, there is not much in the way of legal recourse. You may petition HR for reinstatement, especially if another assistant manager has similar restrictions, or if you are able to perform the essential functions of your job, and the same, or similar, job and pay grade is available. If you feel you are being discriminated against based on your disability, you may file a disability discrimination complaint with the CA DFEH (Department of Fair Employment and Housing) pursuant to the FEHA (Fair Employment and Housing Act) which prohibits discrimination based on protected class status like race, age, gender, disability, etc.
In sum, your employer is generally allowed to take this action, even though the consequences are distressing and dire. The only viable way to combat this pursuant to CA law, and the ADA, is to argue that the restrictions do not limit your ability to perform the essential functions of your job. If another asst. manager has similar restrictions, you have a frame of reference for that argument. Similarly, if your former position is available, but the employer is unreasonably taking adverse employment action against you, you may have a viable claim for disability discrimination.
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