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Vacation request approved then denied

On Lawyer & Legal » Employment & Labor Law

5,226 words with 3 Comments; publish: Wed, 15 Jun 2005 08:44:00 GMT; (80046.88, « »)


I am an international employee working for a non-profit agency in Massachusetts on a visa. My visa is due to end at the end of July. I have suddenly found myself in this problem:

In a discussion held with an authority figure(AB) in my agency about the end date of my visa, I brought up the idea of taking 3 weeks of leave at the end of July to finish out my contract and asked what AB thought of it. I have the 3 weeks paid leave accrued. AB told me there was no way I could get 3 weeks of leave in July. AB was not the necessary person to ask for time off, as per company policy.

I then followed company policy and changed my request to 2 weeks leave and then to return to work the last 2 weeks of my contract (company policy is that you may not take leave in the last 2 weeks of work). I asked a different person(CD) who was overseeing the program I work for and responsible for scheduling and vacation requests and on the same level as AB. CD told me that she would do everything she could to help find coverage for the time off, that I had given enough notice, and to hand the request to EF who is directly under CD and directly responsible for approving vacations. It was approved a week later by EF with the appropriate signature on the appropriate form, as per company policy. 9 days thereafter, it was disapproved by AB who had since taken over the overseeing of my program. At this point I had spent non-refundable money on travel arrangements. The reason the vacation was disapproved was that the program could not support me taking the time off (why was it then approved in the first place?), and because AB had already denied the request so why had I gone to other people to ask for the time off? I assured them that this was a different request and that I had approached the appropriate person with the request (appropriate as per company policy). There was no change.

I then submitted a letter of complaint as per company grievance policy. I was called in to a meeting with the Director of Human Resources(GH), to 'discuss your needs as well as the agency's needs'. In the meeting I was told that EF had been previously informed not to grant vacation to any staff. I was told that they believe that I have behaved in a 'manipulative way', that I am 'playing games'. I assured them that my intention was only to do what was right and not to be manipulative. It was realised that we were in a situation that was not going to be resolved as neither side was willing to succumb to the other's interpretation of what had happened, and I said I was willing to negotiate. I was told that my 'version of negotiation is only to get my own way', they had not asked my how I would negotiate. GH then said they(I assume he meant the agency) were unwilling to negotiate, that they had 'had it', that 'nobody wants to work with you anymore'. I was also told that my choice is to either stay the full 2 months duration of my visa and not take my vacation, or I could leave now and they will 'release you from your contract' in which case I am free to stay in the country for the duration of my visa but not allowed to work. I asked for written documentation about this meeting and was told that that would be fine.

I then said that I would like a meeting with the Executive Director(IJ), which is the final step of the grievance policy, and that I would make my final decision after that. GH said I could do that but that it was unlikely that anything would change. The next morning I called GH and asked that he send me written documentation of the meeting held the previous day and that once I had received that I would meet with IJ and then make my decision. GH said that he had no intention of sending me written documentation, that he would not let me run his agenda, that he does not want to get into a dispute with me. I still requested it and he said' Okay, bye' and put down the phone.

I would really appreciate an objective opinion on this matter. I feel they are mistreating me, falsely accusing me of being manupulative, not listening to my side of the story, and trying to intimidate me into not standing up for myself. But I need to know what leg I have to stand on.

Thank you for your attention.

All Comments

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    • Joubert, you have no leg to stand on. Even if every responder here disagreed with how your management has handled the situation and agreed with you, it wouldn't matter. Your employer dictates the terms and conditions of your employment. If they wish to disallow your vacation request, even after somebody had previously approved it, they may. That's their perogative.

      I can see how your management may feel you tried to manipulate the situation though. After AB denied your request, you them submitted another request to CD who I doubt you informed that AB had already denied it. It's a classic "if mom says no, go ask dad" ploy. That may not have been your intent but that's the way they read it.

      #1; Wed, 15 Jun 2005 09:59:00 GMT
    • Employer signed official vacation request, I spent $$$ on tickets, reservations etc. which are non-refundable. And now they can just cancel it anytime?
      #2; Wed, 15 Jun 2005 11:14:00 GMT
    • Though this seems unfair, they can just cancel the vacation at any time.
      #3; Thu, 16 Jun 2005 02:42:00 GMT