Can I be terminated for taking a day off ifI was told not to butI had PTO to use?

UPDATED: Aug 3, 2011

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Can I be terminated for taking a day off ifI was told not to butI had PTO to use?

I was terminated for asking for a day off from work. I was denied the day off but I called in the day I requested off. I had personal time and vacation time available to use. I was told I was being terminated due to insubordination. The problem is that several other supervisors had done the same thing before and had no problems. One supervisor even walked out and quit for 3 weeks and was allowed to come back. Needless to say all instances of the others were of different race then me. I was told that I couldn’t get my vacation when terminated. Is this a fair discharge and was I suppose to receive vacation pay?

Asked on August 3, 2011 Texas


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

PTO (vacation, sick time, personal day) are given at the discretion of an employer. In other words it is not an automatic right of employment; it need not be given. To the extent that it is, an employer can dictate if and when such time may be taken.

Additionally, unless your employer's action violated its own company policy or you have en employment contract or union agreement that runs counter to your employer's actions, you are an at will employee. Accordingly your employer can dictate the terms of your employment as well as hire or fire as it deems fit. This means that you can be terminated for any reason, even no reason at all, and with or without notice. So unless some form of actionable discrimination was a factor in your discharge, your employer has violated no law. Its actions were perfectly permissible.

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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