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Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 33386
Experience:  Employment Law Expert
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I need advise on an HR matter. The situation is as follows:

Customer Question

Good Evening,
I need advise on an HR matter.
The situation is as follows:
I am the Dean of Academics at a Florida University. A month ago, I spoke with my immediate supervisor letting her know that I was requesting to step down from the position as Dean to a 40 F/T faculty. At that time I explained that due to my father's condition I needed to teach from home. She stated that due to the situation she was going to ask me if I wanted to step down. She stated that this would not be a problem and I made plans giving her a date of 11/02/15. I followed up with her a week and a half ago and she stated to remind her in the morning. I did verbally and via email. She apparently went to HR and that day she stated that I needed to fill out an application. I did not agree, since many employees have been moved through a PAC Form in changing positions.
At this time, I went ahead and completed the application. Thursday when she saw that I was picking up my office. She came and stated; "I don't think you are making tomorrow your last date at the office since I do not have an approval on your new position. Right there I told her that I had given her a month as required. Also that if I would have known other arrangements would have been made. She stated that it was fine if I needed to stay home and asked me to follow up on things. I explained that I was not leaving my job, and would continue working as always in whatever needed to be done.
Today, I received an email from HR stating that they were working on the approval but it would not guarantee that it would be approved.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
40 Hour Full Time jobs have been given to others within the company.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Also, my title was given to somebody else prior to the approval and to 11/02/15.
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.

Hello and thank you for contacting us. This is Dwayne B. and I’m an expert here and looking forward to assisting you today. If at any point any of my answers aren’t clear please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. Also, I can only answer the questions you specifically ask and based on the facts that you give so please be sure that you ask the questions you want to ask and provide all necessary facts.

I read your facts, is there a specific question with which I could assist?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I do not see your response.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
What are my options?
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.

Options as to what? What do you want to accomplish?

Please be as specific as possible, on a forum with a format like this the more specific you can be in your questions the more help I can provide since I will know exactly what you're trying to do or need to know.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
At this point, based on the verbal permission of my supervisor is my job protected.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
What would you recommend to do?
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.

are you working under a written contract?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.

Did you get any of this in an email, letter, etc that guaranteed the new position, etc?

Is that in the employee handbook, manual, or anything like that?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I visited HR the day that I went to see my supervisor and they were informed as of the first day I requested. They expressed that it was up to my supervisor.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Not on an email. I did send my supervisor an email reminding her as she requested verbally from me.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Should I answer HR's email with full detail of all events that transacted?
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.

You have a couple of issues.

First, Florida is what is known as an "employment at will" state. That essentially means that an employer is free to terminate an employee at any time and for any reason. They can also replace an employee, change their mind about a transfer, promotion, etc. The only exceptions to this are that they are not allowed to sanction an employee for an illegal reason like race, age, gender, etc.

Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.

I've got a couple of other things to add but it's going to take a minute to type it all. I'll let you know as soon as I've completed it and then we can cover your questions.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you.
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.

Another exception to the employment at will status it that an employer can't violate a statute. As an example, you mention taking time off due to your father's condition. If you asked for special arrangements, leave, etc. pursuant to the Family Medical Leave Act to care for your father because he has a "serious medical condition" then they can't "punish" you for that.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I understand that, as covered under FMLA.
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.

Florida courts are extremely reluctant to find an implied contract of employment so arguing that you have a contract with them that they breached is a possibility, but just not an incredibly strong case unless it is in writing.

So essentially, based on the facts you have provided so far, there appears to be a possible case for 1) breach of contract and 2) a breach of FMLA.

Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.

However, under FMLA you don't have a right to a "reasonable accommodation" which may mean a rearranging of work assignments, you only have a right to time off. That is a key difference that you need to keep in mind.

As to potential solutions, we can discuss those but what I would suggest is going to a local lawyer who does employment law, you can find one at, and asking them to help you write a reply to the HR email, so that it is worded correctly for the FMLA and the contract issue. That cost should be minimal and will be well worth it if you have to sue since that will be a piece of evidence you actually use at court.

Okay, go ahead and ask any questions you have.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you so much. I will do that.
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.

Did you have other questions on what I posted?

Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.

If your question has been answered then I'd offer my best wishes to you and ask that you please not forget to leave a Positive Rating so I receive credit for my work.

Of course, please feel free to ask any follow up questions in this thread. I'm about to go offline of a while but will be back off and on throughout the evening.

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