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Return to work question New York

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  • Return to work question New York

    My wife is a salaried employee at a dental office in NY. During her recent pregnancy she had to go on disability (pregnancy health issue). She lost the baby and now is preparing to return to work. She was told by her employer (of about 20ish employees) that she will no longer be a full time salaried employee and will be reduced to a part time/hourly with 20 hours a week. Is this legal for her employer to do this? Does my wife have any course of action? Or is she out of luck?

    Thanks in advance for taking the time to read.

  • #2
    Also.....since her position was effectively eliminated, is she required to accept the part time position? If she doesn't, is she eligible for unemployment?

    Any assistance is greatly appreciated.


    • #3
      Since your wife's employer has so few employees, they're not subject to the Family and Medical Leave Act. Therefore they had no obligation to hold her job for her while she was on leave. (I'm very sorry about the loss of the baby.)

      The other potential legal issue is whether she was discriminated against because of her pregnancy. That's prohibited by the federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act. Your wife would need to demonstrate that other similarly situated employees who went on leave for non-pregnancy purposes for the same/similar length of time had their jobs held for them. I'm going to guess the majority of employees in the dentist's office are female so this likely would be a tough road to hoe. Since the FMLA doesn't apply, there is nothing inherently illegal from rearranging work assignments and employees in your wife's absence.

      Your wife isn't required to accept the part-time position but if she refuses it, she won't be eligible for unemployment benefits. If she accepts the job, she may be eligible for a partial unemployment benefit. I suspect her best option is to accept the part-time position and then start looking for a full-time job elsewhere.


      • #4
        Thank you for your reply Beth.

        Just doesn't seem fair. It almost seems as if they want her to quit so as not to pay unemployment.

        Thanks again.


        • #5
          It may not be fair but it's not illegal. If they are hoping she'll quit, she can stymie their plans and not do so. She should apply for UC benefits due to her reduction in hours; she may be eligible for a partial benefit.


          • #6
            It would only be illegal if the reason she had her hours cut was that she had been pregnant. If this was due to a business reorganization, less business overall, or other reason, it is legal. Having been out for pregnancy related reasons does not insulate the employee from employment actions which would have happened anyway.
            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.


            • #7
              Nelson -

              Every once in a while, for some reason a particular thread becomes a spam magnet. This has happened to yours. I have now three times had to delete a spam post from the end of your thread.

              To prevent this from happening again, I'm locking your thread. If you have additional questions you want answered or if you want to respond to one of the answers here, please PM me and I will see that you get the opportunity. I don't want you to be punished because some troll out in the Pacific Rim gets their jollies by posting garbage.
              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.


              • #8
                I also deleted a couple of spam posts from this thread very early morning so
                what cbg is doing is a good idea.
                Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

                Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.


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