HR Home Forums Community Employee is entitled to 2-week vacation but taking 4 weeks without approval and failing to return on the required date.

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  • Conner Lantz
    Keymaster
    Post count: 4836
    Conner Lantz
    Keymaster
    Post count: 4836

    It sounds like you need legal counsel. I’m not allowed or capable of giving you that. But I can give you my personal opinion as long as you recognize that I’m not your lawyer and I don’t know all the facts of the situation.
    Going on an unapproved vacation may be just cause to terminate provided that you:

    1. You have clear vacation policies and approval procedures
    2. The employee is aware of those policies and procedures
    3. You warn the employee that taking off for 4 weeks could be grounds for termination
    4. You consistently enforce the policy with other employees who commit the same offence.

    Based on your description, it sounds like you’ve checked off 3 of the 4 boxes–I don’t have enuf info to make a judgment on the clarity of your policies. But there’s a fly in the ointment, namely, the prior approval which may constitute a waiver of your right to discipline the employee for taking 4 weeks off. It’s crucial that you be able to document that you clearly notified the employee in 2015 that the approval was a one-time thing and not a waiver of your vacation rules going forward. Without written documentation, it becomes your word against hers.
    Again, you should call a lawyer–especially if the employee is represented by a union. But at end of the day, I believe it all comes down to the waiver issue. Good luck and I hope this helps. Glenn

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