Can my employer ask if my time off to

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Can my employer ask if my time off to

I am a call center supervisor with 21 agents underneath me. Recently our other supervisor resigned, and my employer will not fill her position. The company states a supervisors capacity is 17 agents, but still is unwilling to fill the position due to financial concerns. I am the only supervisor at this time, and have advised my employer that assistance is needed because I am overwhelmed. My request have been denied. Today I placed in a time off request asking for 4 consecutive days off to handle family matters. Later that day my employer came to and stated,

Asked on August 3, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Yes, they can question the time off and even refuse it if it is a critical time period, if it is a particularly busy time, if they are understaffed, etc. They cannot indefinitely forbid you from using your earned time off, but they do have discretion to manage their business and can deny you permission to take time off during periods when doing so would harm them. Unfortunately, there is no hard-and-fast rule or bright line about when they have gone too far and are effectively never allowing you to use time off your earned, which is illegal, because it is denying you some of your compensation--that is, the line between a legitimate short-term denial due to circumstances and an indefinite bar on using earned PTO is a blurry line. At some point, if you deem they are not letting you use your PTO, you can try contacting the department of labor, but if they can't help you, your only recourse would be to sue your employer, for either a court order allowing you to use the vacation or for compensation (e.g. it's equivalent value). But I stress--there certainly is some employer discretion about when employees can take vacation, so they can question it if they are shortstaffed for *any* reason.


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