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Patrick, Esq.
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Category: Employment Law
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Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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I went on FMLA in 2014 and when I returned I was given a job

Customer Question

I went on FMLA in 2014 and when I returned I was given a job that was two grades below mine. To put that in perspective I went from a 15 which is a first level executive manager to a grade 13 where I had no direct reports but rather became an individual contributor. If I understand the law correctly that is not legal. They have to provide a job with the same responsibilities and same pay and benefits. They didn't cut my base pay but my bonus was much smaller. I also wan no longer given restricted stock nor was I allowed to get an executive physical annually for free. Lastly, because my salary was already above the top of the grade 13 range I would not get another raise unless I got back to a range 13. That typically takes years. I had 27 years in with the company plus I have always been a highly rated employee. I was very disappointed but I took the job and did an outstanding job with it. However what they did still doesn't sit right with me. Do I have a case against them?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hello and thank you for entrusting me to assist you. My name is ***** ***** I will do everything I can to answer your question.

How long ago is it that you were informed of this demotion? Also, what was your employer's reason for the demotion? Was there a business reason, or is it because you took FMLA leave? I very much look forward to helping you on this matter.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
They told me after I returned that they wanted to put someone in my previous position permanently to bring stability to the position. There had been several managers in the position over the last couple years. To me that is not a business reason. The job could easily have been performed by someone on a temporary basis while I was out. Someone was in it on a temp basis for six months before I got to the job. I didn't know any of this until I returned to work.I was told about the demotion the day before I returned to work which was March 31, 2015. I was told by my manager that he looked at other departments to find a position at the same level but he couldn't find one. So they "created" a position for me at a grade 13 instead.
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you.

It is illegal for an employer to demote an employee BECAUSE that employee took FMLA leave. However, if the demotion was going to occur anyway for reasons unrelated to the leave, then that would be illegal. So, what matters is your employer's motivation.

Your employer's motivation is a factual question that can only be decided by a jury in consideration of all the relevant evidence. Fortunately, there is a PRESUMPTION that an employer acted in retaliation for an employee having taken FMLA leave when the adverse employment action occurs while the employee is on FMLA leave. Moreover, based on your facts, it seems there is a strong circumstantial case to be made that your employer was motivated by the FMLA.

The important thing at this point is to act QUICKLY. Claims for FMLA retaliation typically must be brought within 2 years of when the employee was informed about the adverse employment action. If this all happened in 2014, you may be extremely close to your deadline, if it hasn't passed already. Therefore, you should retain an attorney as soon as possible.

I hope that you find this information helpful. Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.

If you do not require any further assistance, please be so kind as to provide a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you. Very best wishes moving forward.

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