Can my employer cancel my vaction 4 days just before I planned on taking it?

UPDATED: Dec 24, 2011

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Can my employer cancel my vaction 4 days just before I planned on taking it?

My employer called me into an office and put me on probation due to not finishing my work. I have been working 60 hour weeks and have been unable to complete my work. They then informed me I cannot take my planned vacation next week and it cannot be carried it over into next year. They also gave me a hard time when I used vacation in the summer. It is hard to schedule all my vacation time so I normally take the last week of the year off.

Asked on December 24, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Iowa


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Your employer cannot prevent you from taking a pre-approved vacation wherein you have already incurred the vacation time. If you have been working 60 hour weeks and unable to complete your work, you either need additional help, the work is not meant to be completed in this time period, or this is not the position for you. I would inform them that trying to prevent you from taking a pre-approved vacation is unethical and illegal and you will be taking it. Make sure you keep in print hard copy format all of your requests and approvals. Then contact your state's labor department and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to explain what is happening and see if those entities are willing to help you. Also consider talking to a private labor lawyer and see if you may need legal intervention. Your employer may be able to fire you at will but cannot do so by being discriminatory or in retaliation for possible litigatin. Consider your options including new work possibilities and tread softly.

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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