Employment Law Questions? Ask an Employment Lawyer.
Brandon, what do you think?
Hi, thank you for your question.
The timing of all of this certainly suggests that your depression was a factor in the demotion. What is your employer's explanation for the demotion and cut in pay?
Due to the fact that I had to miss a month, which was busy, and other people were assigned
parts of my job, now only a lesser job is available.
Approximately how many employees work at your office?
Thank you. What is your line of work?
I should say "was" before the demotion.
I was a General Manager for k. hall studio, inc. They sell bath and body items all over the world.
How did they run the store in your absence?
I am told that they gave a lot of responsibility to my assistant, which I was training, and other parts
of my duties to two other employees.
Do you have a history of missing work due to your depression?
This was the first time.
I had an on the job injury in April, which caused me to miss three weeks.
Does your employer know that your absence was due to depression?
I was keeping him updated with my progress
Interesting. Did you use vacation time during your absence, or was it unpaid leave?
I used my three weeks vacation to cover three of the four weeks I missed.
Ok, so it was basically an unpaid absence, correct?
The last week is unpaid. They did pay me for my three weeks vacation.
Oh, I see. Thank you for that clarification.
I asked how many employees you have at your office. This next question is a bit odd, so please bear with me. How many employees does your employer have within a 75 mile radius of your place of work? More than 50? I ask because I am attempting to assess your eligibility for FMLA leave.
No, we are under 50. The total is 35.
Ok, well, it may not be an FMLA issue, but please allow me a moment to explain the law in Missouri.
I should start by saying that because the nuances of every situation are different, this information should not be construed as complete or advice without consulting in person with counsel. That said, under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) employers are obligated to reasonably accommodate the disabilities of their employees. The ADA has a three-part definition of disability. Under ADA, an individual with a disability is a person who: (1) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; OR (2) has a record of such an impairment; OR (3) is regarded as having such an impairment. Clinical depression can certainly qualify as a disability under the ADA.
It is well established that leave time can be considered a "reasonable accommodation" for ADA purposes...
"permitting the use of accrued paid leave or providing additional unpaid leave for necessary treatment" has been explicitly covered under the ADA.
So where an employer discriminates against an employee by failing to provide reasonable accommodations to which the employee is entitled, it is a violation of federal law. Discrimination can take on many forms, including demotions and reductions in pay.
What should my next move be?
Well, that's a personal decision and, as I mentioned, the nuances of every case are different. Sometimes, the problem can be resolved to the satisfaction of all parties involved if the the law is just brought to everyone's attention. Sometimes, it is necessary to take legal action.
Can these answers be saved and printed out?
Should legal action be deemed necessary, it is best to enlist the assistance of an attorney practiced in employment law or labor law. However, may individuals choose to pursue the action independently by contacting the Department of Justice Civil Rights' Division.
Yes. If you'd like, I can contact our customer service and ask them to email a copy to you.
You can also highlight the text, copy it, and paste it into another document.
That would be great if you could.
I am glad to do so.
You can also view it at any time by logging into your account with justanswer.
I believe that customer service is not open right now, so it will likely be tomorrow before you get a copy.
Have I been able to answer your question in a helpful way?
Yes, you have been very helpful. Should I bring this information to my employer, or go to the ADA,
or an attorney?
or the Missouri Department of Labor?
Well, as I mentioned, that's really a personal decision. I know the law, but you know the people involved, their personalities, and what would be an acceptable outcome. You have to decide what is best for you and your situation. That said, I would be most likely to recommend taking the matter to an attorney if that is an option. Getting an attorney involved will ensure you that your rights are protected and that you get the best outcome possible, whatever that may be.
Thank you for your help, I will give you a great rating!
I appreciate that very much, and I wish you the best.