About to return from FMLA & my employer changed my hours of work from 9a-5p to 1p-5p. Is this legal?

I had a baby on 4/28/11. I was due to return to work from FMLA on 7/22/11 to my normal hours of 9am to 5pm. I received a letter from my employer yesterday telling me to return on 8/1/11 and to the hours of 1pm to 5pm. Is this legal? What do I do as I can't afford to work for just 20 hours per week?

2 answers  |  asked Jul 11, 2011 07:52 AM [EST]  |  applies to Pennsylvania

Answers (2)

Christopher Ezold
Before I respond to your inquiry, I must state that we have not spoken, I have not reviewed the relevant documents and facts, and I do not represent you. Therefore, my discussion below is not a legal opinion, but is informational only. Finally, my discussion applies only to issues to which Pennsylvania or Federal law apply, unless otherwise specified.

That being said, if you are a "Key Employee" your employer has to notify you of that fact in writing. I am assuming from your question that you did not receive any such notice.

Furthermore, an employer can eliminate your position while you are on leave IF the employer would have done so anyway. This can be a heavy burden for an employer to meet. If the employer did eliminate your position and create a new, part-time, position, then it might have a defense. That's a bit unlikely, however.

If you would like to discuss this matter further, please feel free to contact me at the below address(es) or number.

/Christopher E. Ezold/
Chair of the Board,
Magellan Leadership Group

The Ezold Law Firm, P.C.
One Belmont Avenue,
Suite 501
Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004
(610) 660-5585

posted by Christopher Ezold  |  Jul 11, 2011 12:05 PM [EST]
Harold Goldner
Assuming that you were eligible for FMLA (had worked for more than 1250 hours over the last year or more) and your employer was required to offer FMLA (50 or more employees within 75 miles), and you were going to be ready to return to work without limitations on your return date of 7/22/11, no, they cannot change your job in this fashion unless you are a "key employee" (which would mean exective level, which it doesn't sound like you are).

You should contact an employment lawyer to determine what your rights are.

posted by Harold Goldner  |  Jul 11, 2011 08:26 AM [EST]

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