Say that Ash works for Big Co. and goes on some kind of legally protected leave (FMLA leave, parental leave, etc.) because of some protected characteristic (such as having acquired a disability and/or child).

Ash's boss Brett is fully on board with following all applicable laws. But while Ash is gone, Brett notices... nothing. There is no measurable change in the productivity or performance of Brett's team or of the company in general. Tasks are getting done exactly as fast, the same number of widgets as ever are rolling out the door, and nobody is in the least inconvenienced by not having Ash around or not having Ash's job done. Brett can't help but conclude that whatever Ash is employed to do is not actually a thing worth doing.

But Brett only knows that Ash's job is unnecessary because Ash went out on protected leave.

Can Ash be laid off from their unnecessary job as a result of their protected leave revealing their job's unnecesariness?

  • During the leave? Or after the return? For a child will likely be different than a disability, even after the return. Note, this will not look good for Brett regardless as he was not adequately supervising.
    – paulj
    Mar 7 at 14:55
  • If it would be illegal to lay them off during the leave, would it somehow become legal at some point after they return?
    – interfect
    Mar 7 at 15:20
  • 1
    Brett will likely find that all of Ash's coworkers who are stepping up to cover their work for a short, defined period will not be happy if Ash does not come back...
    – Jon Custer
    Mar 7 at 17:03
  • @JonCuster, "check out the small brain on Breeeettt."
    – Tiger Guy
    Mar 7 at 23:49
  • Under FMLA, if I remember correctly, you're not guaranteed your job back. It can be a different job but needs to have equivalent pay and benefits.
    – mkennedy
    Mar 8 at 1:06

1 Answer 1


Per labor laws you are under family leave or leave for yourself if this what means by protected leave then your employer can't dismiss your employment there unless a change with in the company such as the company sells or goes out business otherwise you are protected now after a week or two and they decide that they no longer need your position then they can let you go however if they post that position with in 3 mo of letting you go you have grounds for a civil suit unless you signed a pre contact upon hiring that states they can do so.

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