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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
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Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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My husband recently returned to work on Oct. 29th after taking

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My husband recently returned to work on Oct. 29th after taking 2 weeks of paternity leave. Because he has not been at this company for long enough to qualify for FMLA it was only leave under California's paid family leave program. My understanding is that while the PFL program does not offer job protection, an employee may not be fired for taking the leave while he is out on leave or shortly after his return to work. What about demotion? Can an employee be demoted to a lower position for taking family leave? My husband is being reassigned to another project this afternoon, and he thinks it is because he took the leave.

Hello and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question.

Unfortunately, Paid Family Leave does not provide any sort of job protection, simply compensation for lost wages, much like SDI. The prohibitions on termination to which you refer are exactly what "protected leave" means. So, if leave is "unprotected," then an employee can by definition be terminated for taking such leave, as that is what is means for leave to be unprotected.

As you are aware, FMLA provides actual job protection, but you state that your husband is not eligible. California also provides for "baby bonding" leave, but the eligibility requirements are essentially the same as those for FMLA.

If FMLA and California baby bonding leave do not apply, there regretfully is no law that would prohibit an employer from taking adverse employment action against a male employee who takes time off following the birth of a child.

On a personal note, I think that this is extremely unfair. However, you came here for an honest answer with regard to the parameters of the law, and that is what I have attempted to provide for you. Accordingly, I trust that you will appreciate this information.

If you have any questions or concerns whatsoever regarding my answer, please do not hesitate to ask, as my goal is to provide the best possible service. If you do not have any further concerns, I would be very grateful if you would give my answer a positive rating and click submit, as this is the only way I will receive credit for assisting you.

Finally, please bear in mind that none of the above constitutes legal advice nor is any attorney client relationship created between us.

Thank you and very kindest regards.

Patrick, Esq. and other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you

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