Reassignment to new location may not violate FMLA

Employees who take FMLA leave are entitled to their former jobs or equivalent ones when they return to work. But sometimes employers that operate many locations move employees around to cover for the employee on FMLA leave. They may not want to move those employees again.

Can the returning employee be assigned to another location? Yes.

Recent case:
Daniel Brody took three months off for back surgery—time covered by the FMLA. He had worked as a Starbucks coffee store manager before taking the leave.

While he was off, the company moved personnel around. When Brody returned, Starbucks placed him in a different store.

He sued, alleging interference with his FMLA rights. But the court said the job was an equivalent one, especially since the new location required a shorter commute. (Brody v. Starbucks, No. 07-4208, DC MN, 2009)