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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 12942
Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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My employer approved my request for an intermittent FMLA/CFRA

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My employer approved my request for an intermittent FMLA/CFRA leave extension. However, my employer just notified me that they would like to immediately transfer me to a new manager that is two levels lower than my current manager in the organizational structure. The new manager is also one level lower than me in the organizational structure. I am a Senior Director and the new Manager is a Director level manager.

I understand that my employer can temporarily transfer me to an alternative job with "equivalent pay and benefits" that accommodates my reduced work schedule leave better than my regular job. Does a transfer to a manager that is two levels below my current manager consistitute "equivalent pay and benefits" or a demotion? How should I respond to my manager's request?
Hello and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question.

Hello and thank you so much for requesting me to answer your question. 29 CFR 825.215(a) provides the definition of what constitutes an "equivalent position." That section states:

"An equivalent position is one that is virtually identical to the employee's former position in terms of pay, benefits and working conditions, including privileges, perquisites and status. It must involve the same or substantially similar duties and responsibilities, which must entail substantially equivalent skill, effort, responsibility, and authority."

Whether or not a particular transfer would qualify as an "equivalent position" is a "question of fact," meaning that ultimately it would be an issue for a jury to decide on the basis of all relevant information. Accordingly, one can only speculate as to whether any given position is "equivalent" based on the particular circumstances of each case.

Since you mention that the proposed position is lower in the hierarchal structure of the company, there is a question as to whether it is a position with equivalent "status." An employee in this circumstance could bring their concern regarding the status of the proposed transfer position to management.

I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX this information helps you and I wish you the very best of luck. Bear in mind that none of the above constitutes legal advice nor is any attorney client relationship created between us.

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