If I took a day off that I thought was approved but it wasn’t, can I be forced to use my vacation time to cover it?

My approvals are verbal for any written request. My supervisor said I did not provide a written request. I have worked here for over 16 years. I was written up and told I would have to take the day without pay or use 2 of my 23 vacation days left for 1 vacation day taken. Is this legal?

Asked on July 16, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If your employer's policies required a written request and you did not provide one, or require approval of vacation days before their use and you did not receive (or cannot prove you received, which is effectively the same thing) approval, then they can sanction you for violating their policy and taking an unauthorized day. If their policy has been to dock you an extra day for each unauthorized day, they can clearly do this; if that was not their policy, it's possible that they may not be able to directly to this, but since they could, in the alternative, suspend, fire, or demote you (unless you have a written employment contract preventing this; otherwise, you are an employee at will and may be fired, or anything short of being fired, at any time, for any reason, including misuse of vacation time), you may wish to accept this sanction rather than make an issue of it.

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