If they gave me a vacation with pay then terminate me do they still have to pay me?

I was provided with a week vacation
with pay, i was suppose to come back on
a tuesday and i called out. I am the
general manager already. So that night
another gm that was helping at my store
texted me and told me to turn in my
uniform or keys.. So i did that
following day. The owner later said i
quit that they didnt fire me although i
have the text messages. And i didnt get
paid for my vacation. Can they do that?

Asked on June 30, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Tennessee


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Did you have an employment contract or union agreemnt that mandated vacation time be paid upon termination? Did not paying you for this time constitutes some form of legally actionable discrimination? Otherwise, TN does not require that employers to pay out unused vacation time upon termination. Additionally, in "at will" employment, a company can set the conditions of work much as it sees fit. This includes when and why to discharge a worker. The fact is that an employee can befired for any reason or no reason at all, with or without notice. Bottom line, while seemingly unfair, your employer's action was perfectly permissable under the law.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, your state is one of the many states that does not require employers to pay out unsused vacation time, unless there was a written employment agreement requiring them to do so. Also, unless you had an employment contract protecting your employment, you were an employee at will and could be terminated at any time, for any reason, without notice. The combination of this is that even having given you a vacation, they could elect to terminate you and not pay out the balance of your vacation time.
For future reference: calling out when you were supposed to return to work is often a bad idea; I have seen a number of people lose their jobs for doing that.

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