Can an employer change your position when you immediately come back from disability

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can an employer change your position when you immediately come back from disability

I came back from short term disability
and in Nov and had my position and
responsibilities changed in Dec. I have
been struggling with quota and now I am
on disciplinary plans and about to lose
my job.

Asked on June 15, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, New Jersey


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

It is legal if they gave you a comparable position--more or less same authority and pay. While the law prohibits an employer from retaliating against someone for using disabiltiy, or from discriminating against an employee due to his or her disability, the employer retains the fundamental right to manage its business and decide what jobs employees will do; they do not lose that basic discretion because of the disability. The law takes a very pragmatic, "bottom line" view of what constitutes discrimination or retaliation: it's a loss of pay or authority, or perhaps transferring the employee to some less-desirable location or shift; i.e. its a very concrete, quantifiable diminution in the job. If this is what happened, contact the state department of labor (for retalation for using short-term disability) or the Division on Civil Rights (for suspected discrimination due to you having a medical condition or disability) to file a complaint. But if you are retained fundamentally the same pay and level at work, that is not considered retaliation or discrimination, even if the new position is not working out for  you, and so you would not have a legal claim.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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