If I am on vacation, can my employer call me back to work in order to let someone else take their vacation?

I took vacation time for 2 week, and my employer has called me to back to work after only 1 week due to them letting another person take off of work during the time off I requested. Is this legal if there is already an agreement in place to let an employee use vacation time? Also, can I file a complaint and be protected by any labor laws, and if I do get fired for bring this incident to someone’s attention, can I do anything about? Also, if I were to refuse to go back to work due to the agreement I have in place to be gone from work on vacation time, can they legally fire me?

Asked on September 2, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Kansas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If there is an agreement to let you take the time, that agreement may be enforceable, and if it is, if they fired you, you may be able to seek to recover compensation. Or even without an otherwise enforceable agreement, if you outlayed costs or took some other action to your detriment in reliance on their promise that they would let you take this time, that reliance may be enough to bind the company and entitle you to compensation. Be aware, though, if there is no agreement and no detrimental reliance on a promise, a company may ask an employer to cut his/her vacation short for any reason, so be certain you have an enforceable agreement or a good case built on reliance before you take any action-you may wish to first consult with an employement attorney in detail about your situation, if you can. Remember: even if you are in the right, if the company disagrees and fires you, you will have to sue to enforce your rights, which can itself be expensive and emotionally draining and time consumming--and winning is never guaranteed in any event. Therefore, think carefully before taking any steps.

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