Generally speaking, an employee is entitled to return to the same position following maternity leave (CPDLL/FEHA), unless their position is no longer available for a reason unrelated to the leave. However, many extend their CPDLL leave with CFRA leave, which is slightly less protective than CPDLL provisions.
Regardless, an employer cannot retaliate against an employee for engaging in a protected activity such a requesting/taking a protected leave of absence. Retaliation can include termination, but could be less drastic. Reduction in scheduled hours could also be considered retaliation, if it leads to lower income and/or less desirable working conditions.
In terms of the EDD issue, more facts are necessary. If the hours for the position have been reduced, but you are still doing the same job than it may be possible to secure partial payment. However, if this is a change in assignment, than no EDD.
Many more facts are necessary to determine an action plan for you. I recommend you contact a local employment attorney to discuss this in further detail. You can find many listed on CELA.org.
Best of luck,
Oleg Albert, Esq.
Your question raises many questions. What is your job? How many more/less hours are you getting? How will that impact your wages? How many other people's hours and schedules were changed?
My colleague is correct. With few exceptions, you generally have the right to return to the "same or similar" position as when you went out on maternity leave.
The EDD will ask many of these same questions in considering whether to honor a claim for unemployment benefits.
David A. Mallen
David A. Mallen offers answers on Avvo as a public service, for general information only. This offer of free, general answers is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. If you need specific advice regarding the facts of your legal claim or the time limits for filing your claim, you should consult an attorney confidentially. Many experienced California labor and employment attorneys, including David A. Mallen, offer confidential, no-risk legal consultations at no charge. David A. Mallen is licensed to practice law before all state and federal courts in California, as well as the California Labor Commissioner and the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board. Failure to take legal action within the time periods prescribed by law could result in the loss of important legal rights and remedies.
My colleagues are correct. I just want to add that "job elimination" is often used as a pretext to cover up unlawful discrimination or retaliation. Therefore, whenever anyone returns from a protected leave and is met with that reason for a significant change, I see it as a red flag to do further investigation. Many questions need to be answered. For instance, did the company go through a reorganization while you were gone? Has someone else taken over your old job responsibilities? Have other women who have gone out on pregnancy leave faced similar job changes on their return? Was there any indication before you went on leave that they might want to change your working hours after you returned to care for your newborn?
Unfortunately pregnancy and "new mommy" discrimination is quite prevalent in our society. The question with your situation is whether your job would have changed had you not been on pregnancy leave, or did your having a baby cause the change.
Good luck to you.
This answer should not be construed to create any attorney-client relationship. Such a relationship can be formed only through the mutual execution of an attorney-client agreement. The answer given is based on the extremely limited facts provided and the proper course of action might change significantly with the introduction of other facts. All who read this answer should not rely on the answer to govern their conduct. Please seek the advice of competent counsel after disclosing all facts to that attorney. This answer is intended for California residents only. The answering party is only licensed to practice in the State of California.