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fmla in NV regarding Casinos Nevada

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  • fmla in NV regarding Casinos Nevada

    I am in need of an answer!

    I work for a large casino in Vegas that has quite a few properties. I took an FMLA leave on May 20, 2008 (approved through HR) for surgery, and WAS a full time employee on May 20, 2008. On June 5, 2008, I received a call from HR stating that I was demoted to an On Call position, along with 4 other employees from my department, and that my insurance expired on May 31, 2008 and I no longer would receive benefits. I paid for my Cobra policy at a premium of $309 per month as I have long term physical therapy for my surgery. On July 1, 2008, the company changed insurance plans, and my cobra went to $525/month, which I have been struggling to pay. Now, I am back to work, but am having complications due to the surgery (not affecting my job performance), and may need another surgery, therefore, cannot go get a different insurance policy due to pre existing conditions. Also, if I need to be off work again, I no longer can get my short term disability, as I am no longer considered full time.

    My question is, can they demote me while on FMLA? They state the reason to be, reduction in work force, when in all actuality, they have cut full time positions, and hired more on call employees. (On call employees are scheduled up to 32 hours a week, each week.) My department has more employees now, than when I went on FMLA, and has been consistently hiring more employees prior to and during my FMLA. Also, with FMLA, am I not correct in assuming, that they should have found me another position in the company with equal pay and benefits? I have been a model employee for 3 years.

    My HR department is standing their ground with the basis of reduction in work force, and have given me the # to our corporate office.

    If I am correct, will I need an attorney? Also, I have heard that the NV Labor Board is not very aggresive with the larger casinos. Any suggestions?

    Thanks to anyone that can help!!!

  • #2
    You cannot be demoted because your were on FMLA leave. You can be demoted in spite of it. Being on FMLA leave does not prevent you from adverse job actions that would have taken place if you were not on leave. Given that four other people in your department who were not on leave were demoted at the same time, you would have a steep uphill battle to demonstrate that the employer retaliated against you for taking leave.

    With that said, the agency that oversees FMLA is the U.S. Department of Labor. It certainly wouldn't hurt for you to give their toll free number of call and would be less expensive than a consultation for a lawyer.

    While you are on FMLA leave, the employer can require you to pay your portion of the premiums (i.e., the same amount that is deducted from your paychecks). That's different than COBRA, and I suspect that that's what you were paying while you were on leave. ($309 is incredibly low for COBRA.)If you were not, then that's another issue to surface with DOL.
    I am not able to respond to private messages. Thanks!


    • #3
      My portion of insurance was going to be $75, until the demotion, the cobra was $309. Thanks for your support. In a large company, they are still hiring full time positions that I am qualified for, I don't understand how they can just demote me, and not try to find me another full time position? This company has 11 properties in the Las Vegas area. And how can they keep hiring in my department for more dealers, I am a poker dealer, yet just start cutting out full timers, doesnt FMLA have regulations regarding this?


      • #4
        If you feel that they are passing you over for full-time positions for which you are qualified in violation of FMLA, that is an issue that should be reported to the U.S. Department of Labor.
        I am not able to respond to private messages. Thanks!


        • #5
          What about my benefits and job protection outlined in FMLA? The employer could have easily left my position as full time and demoted me my first day back to work. I am strictly interested in my insurance coverage while on FMLA. As stated on the FMLA website, they had to have kept my insurance coverage and I pay monthly for the difference. The downsize was not in every department, they are currently still hiring more employees. We are talking a company of over 10,000 + employees, currently a leader on the Fortune list.

          Are you an attorney?


          • #6
            Ginny, you're not hearing what you're being told.

            FMLA ONLY protects you from adverse actions that took place BECAUSE you took FMLA. It does NOT protect you from actions that would have happened regardless. Since several other employees in your department who were not on FMLA were demoted at the same time, it is almost certainly NOT because you were on FMLA and therefore legal. The fact that they COULD have done it differently does not mean they MUST.

            Being on FMLA does not give you any extra rights or privileges that other employees do not. You do not get to keep your benefits if the other employees who were demoted, and who were not on FMLA, lose theirs as well.
            The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.


            • #7
              Read here

              During any FMLA leave, an employer must maintain the employee's
              coverage under any group health plan (as defined in the Internal Revenue
              Code of 1986 at 26 U.S.C. 5000(b)(1)) on the same conditions as coverage
              would have been provided if the employee had been continuously employed
              during the entire leave period.

              If an employer provides a new health plan or benefits or changes
              health benefits or plans while an employee is on FMLA leave, the
              employee is entitled to the new or changed plan/benefits to the same
              extent as if the employee were not on leave. For example, if an employer
              changes a group health plan so that dental care becomes covered under
              the plan, an employee on FMLA leave must be given the same opportunity
              as other employees to receive (or obtain) the dental care coverage. Any
              other plan changes (e.g., in coverage, premiums, deductibles, etc.)
              which apply to all employees of the workforce would also apply to an
              employee on FMLA leave.

              an employer's obligation to maintain health benefits
              during leave (and to restore the employee to the same or equivalent
              employment) under FMLA ceases if and when the employment relationship
              would have terminated if the employee had not taken FMLA leave (e.g., if
              the employee's position is eliminated as part of a nondiscriminatory
              reduction in force and the employee would not have been transferred to
              another position)

              If the others who were demoted were offered other positions, then you should be too. If they were not, then one does not have to be offered to you either. If the others lost their coverage at the time of the demotion and had to opt for COBRA, the same goes for you.
              I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.