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An employee who took a leave of absence because she suspected her live-in nanny was abusing her 18-month-old son is ineligible for the job protections of the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), according to a just-released appeals court decision in Detels v. Farmers Insurance Exchange [2003 WL 31862700].
The worker, a special claims adjuster (the highest level of claims representative), immediately requested and was granted time off to deal with the situation. HR told the woman she qualified for an unpaid family and medical leave of absence, but made no other representations about the leave. In filing out the required paperwork, the woman checked the box marked "personal business" rather than the one marked "serious health condition of a dependent child."
When she returned to the job about a month later, she was reassigned to the duties of an office claims representative, considered the lowest rung of the claims representative ladder. In addition to this demotion, she also felt that she lost many of her perks that accrue to a senior employee. The company denied that her new job duties amounted to a demotion, but the …