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I had accrued 76 hours of PTO through my employer. I had 2 scheduled vacation days that were approved for the following week for 16 hours. I was thinking about taking another opportunity and asked my manager what the policy is on unpaid vacation time. If they pay out what was not used if you work out a notice or if you have to use it before the end of your employment. I made it very clear I was not ready to put in a notice but I did want to be prepared to plan if that was the decision that I made. After speaking with the district manager, she informed me that I was no longer able to take vacation. They were changing the schedule for next week so that I no longer have those days. If I do choose to remain with the company I may, however I will only be allotted 1 vacation day per month. I also will be immediately terminated if I miss work at all. She cited the reasoning being that they do not allow vacation to be used to find another job or to be taken advantage of by those who do not wish to remain at the company. And though I hadn’t put in a notice, my verbal interest in looking for employment elsewhere is sufficient for them to change their policy. The employee handbook does mention that vacation requests can be approved or denied at management’s discretion. This does however feel that they are overstepping that, as this isn’t just not approving a vacation day due to scheduling issues, it’s completely changing the policy in regards to vacation for me. Does OH have anything in place to protect a worker from this type of over-reach by an employer to not honor an employee benefit?
Asked on September 28, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Ohio
SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney
Answered 3 years ago | Contributor
They may change the policy at will *going forward*: from when the announce the change on. But they cannot retroactively change the policy. Employers may change any policies at will if those polices are not embodied in and locked in by a written contract. So they have to let you use the previously approved days and cannot take away any days earned by you to date; but going forward, they can change their policy as indicated. If the won't honor the days you had, you have to decide if it is worth bringing a complaint to the labor department or suing your employer over this. A good idea would be to move on to a different opportunity, if you can: this does not seem like a company you wish to keep working for.