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Demote Employee North Carolina

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  • Demote Employee North Carolina

    I have an employee that has been out on Medical Leave for two months. This person is due back next week. We have found so many mistakes this person has made and things NOT done. This person is in our accounting dept. My question is, we really don't want her to stay in this dept. Can we demote her to another dept. when she comes back. I have always heard that YOU HAVE to give them the same position they had when they left on medical leave, when they return? We also want to lower her pay rate. Please let me know by legal obligations.

    Thank you

  • #2
    Do you qualify for FMLA?

    If you do, there is no way I would demote this person. No way.

    Yes, I know you have just cause. It would just look WAY too suspicious in a court of law... that tend to fault to the employee... as they should.

    Here is what you do.

    When he/she comes back, present her with the list of mistakes you have caught and the time required to fix them. State that from this moment on you will be watching his/her work and will performance manage from this moment forward.
    Not everything that makes you mad, sad or uncomfortable is legally actionable.

    I am not now nor ever was an attorney.

    Any statements I make are based purely upon my personal experiences and research which may or may not be accurate in a court of law.


    • #3

      No we don't qualify for FMLA. We are just 5 employees and the owner.
      I really don't want to put her back into the position of accounting.
      That's our $$.


      • #4
        If there are only a total of 5 employees & the owner, you are correct that FMLA would not apply which allows up to 12 wks. of unpd. job protected leave. I don't know the reason she was out (for example pregnancy) but with less than 15 employees federal and NC state discrimination laws do not apply either.

        Therefore, you can handle this situation however you wish. (for example you can take her out of accounting & reduce her pay (with notice) though not below min. wage)
        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.


        • #5
          I have always heard that YOU HAVE to give them the same position they had when they left on medical leave, when they return?

          That is true when FMLA applies, but FMLA does not apply here.
          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.


          The forum is intended for informational use only and should not be relied upon and is not a substitute for legal advice. The information contained on are opinions and suggestions of members and is not a representation of the opinions of does not warrant or vouch for the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any postings or the qualifications of any person responding. Please consult a legal expert or seek the services of an attorney in your area for more accuracy on your specific situation.