Vacation time

My employer schedules us to work every other weekend. They recently
posted a new policy that you can only take one weekend a year off. I
have 4 weeks of vacation time a year I have worked there for 28 years
and now I can only take one weekend of vacation a year. Can they do
that?

Asked on September 6, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Ohio

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Do you have an employment contract that prohibits this action? Does it violate a union/collective bargaining agreement? If not, unless your treatment constitutes some form of legally actionable discrimination, it is legal. The fact is that most work relationships are what is known as "at will". This means that a company can set the terms of employment much as it sees fit. This includes changing policy as to who can take vacation time and when. The fact is that such time need not be given by an employer; it is a discretionary benefit that it can choose to give or not. Accordingly it has a great deal of say over if and when it can be used.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Yes, they may do this. Except to the extent limited by a written employment contract, all employment is "employment at will." Among other things, this means that the employer may freely set, and freely change, workplace policies, including regarding the use or vacation days, even if the policy inconveniences employee. The fact that an emoyer did things differently for many years does not prevent them from changing their policies when they want to.


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