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OK to change minor duties during or after FMLA leave

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in FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources

Employees who take FMLA leave are entitled to return to the same or an equivalent position after their leave has expired. But that doesn’t mean management can’t alter minor job duties, especially if the change legitimately makes good business sense.

The fact that someone’s job evolves slightly during leave doesn’t mean the change was related to leave or punishment for taking leave.

Recent case: Deborah, a bank teller, took three months of maternity leave. Before she gave birth, her job in­­cluded filling out government paperwork. When she returned, that duty had been transferred to the compliance department. She sued, alleging retaliation and interference with her FMLA rights.

The court threw out her lawsuit. It ruled that making logical job-duty changes while an employee is on leave isn’t illegal. (Perretti v. Alma Bank, No. 11-Civ-3925, ED NY, 2012)

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