Is it legal to be denied a day of?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Is it legal to be denied a day of?

I requested a day off more than a month
in advance. The human resources
director denied it because I do not
have enough accrued vacation time. I
thrn asked if I can take it as an
unpaid day and was told ‘that’s not how
it works’. I was told to wait until the
beginning of the month and resubmit my
request at which time I will have
enough vacation time, but if anyone
else requests that day in the meantime
I will not be approved. The reason for
the request is for a meeting at my
child’s school that I have rescheduled
3 times because of work, and yes I
wrote that on my request. I would just
call in that day, but the last time
someone did that after a day not being
approved, he was fired. What do I do?

Asked on October 14, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Massachusetts


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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you can be denied time off legally. If you have no PTO available to you, then your employer can prohibit you from taking time off. The fact is that most employment arrangements are what is know as "at will". This means that a company can set the conditions of the workplace much as it sees fit. That is unless a worker's treatment constitutes some form of legally actionable discrimination or violates the terms of an employment contract or union agreement. While unfortunate, your choices are to either accept the situation, complain and risk termination, or quit.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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