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Returned to work after 12 week FMLA to find job given to coworker. Informed of lay-off. Is this legal?

Austin, TX |

I returned from FMLA/maternity leave to find that my job had been given to the individual backing me up. Upon talking to my manager, he informed me that I needed to start looking for different employment because I'm going to be laid off (HR would contact me with exact details of my layoff in 2-3 weeks of him informing me and that he was doing me a favor but pre-informing me). I work in a large tech firm with a 1000+ employees. as far as I can tell, 2-3 additional individuals were also asked to start seeking different employment and the manager has decided to leave the company as well with the team getting restructured. What rights or protections do I have in this case?

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Attorney answers 1

Posted

This isn't automatically illegal. The fact that you took FMLA/maternity leave does not prevent your employer from laying you off. Instead, you would need to show that the company picked you out to be laid off because of your FMLA leave or pregnancy.

When you returned, did your employer restore you to an equivalent position? Are there indications that you were singled out to be laid off? What is the team restructuring that you are talking about? These are all questions that you need to work through with an employment lawyer.

Asker

Posted

Thank you for your response. I returned from FMLA to no position at all. The very same week (Day 4 to be exact, since he was travelling earlier that week) is when my manager informed me that I should start looking for alternate employment. The team restructuring involved 4 of us being asked to seek alternate employment. The manager is being laid-off from the company as well.

David C. Holmes

David C. Holmes

Posted

Well, if they didn't restore you to an equivalent position and if your manager immediately told you that you were being laid off ("immediately" taking into account that he was traveling), then it sounds like you have a potential FMLA claim. On the other hand, if four members of your team are being told to start looking for new jobs, that partially negates the possibility that you, personally, are being singled out.

Asker

Posted

I just about something. Is it legal for them to have handed a large portion of my role to my coworker backing me up? My coworker and I are the same grade level but they were "hired" into my position while I was out on FMLA. that to me seemed unethical and I wanted directional advice on whether I should purse professional legal advice with regard to this matter.

David C. Holmes

David C. Holmes

Posted

The employer can lawfully fill your position, as long as you are restored to an equivalent position. You probably should work through all of this with an employment lawyer.

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