Can I get fired if I put in a request for time off and it was approved?

UPDATED: Aug 25, 2012

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Can I get fired if I put in a request for time off and it was approved?

If I was fired because I requested time off 3-4 weeks in advance, had that time off approved, then given an ultimatum that if I did not come in on the approved time off, that I would be let go, do I have a case? Also, if someone sent an email stating that I gave my letter of resignation but I did not; there is no letter and no signature on this so called letter, is there anything I could do?

Asked on August 25, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Massachusetts


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

An employer may, as a general matter, deny or even revoke permission to take vacation at a specific time; so your employer coujld tell you to come in or be fired. Sometimes, IF the employee spent some significant amount of non-refundable money (e.g. non-refundable air fare) or otherwise did something significant to his or her detriment in reliance on the approval of vacation time, and the company knew, at the time they gave the approval, that the employee would do this, but knowing that, gave the approval anyway, the employee can enforce the promise on the theory of promissory estoppel--but this obviously requires a specialized set of facts and a willingness to become involved in litigation, if necessary, against an employer.

The employer may terminate you at will, if you don't have an employment contract, so regardless of whether you did or not resign, they could let you go. However, if you are fired and apply for unemployment benefits and they try to deny them on grounds you resigned, if you can show that you did not in fact write that letter or otherwise resign, you should get the benefits.

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