Can my employer deny my employer deny vacation time because they had to approve FMLA first?

I requested a two week vacation for August several months ago. About 3 - 4 weeks ago my supervisor told me she did not see a problem approving it she just wasn't allowed to approve it too far in advance. Last week I requested 2 weeks sick time to travel to PA to be with my 79 year old mother who is having major surgery and will be in the hospital for 5 - 7 days. I want to be there and help her and my 83 year old father during this time and be sure when she returns home she is able to get around and do her DLA on her own. I have 7 weeks of sick time accrued. My employer made me request FMLA and asked me if I still planned on taking the vacation I requested in August. Her concern was the length of my absence for both requests and that they were both during our rent collection week. I am a property manager. She made the nexus between the two. I told her yes and that I would hope that needing to care for my elderly mother would not be cause to deny my vacation. She said they are two separate things. My point exactly. Now I am being called into HR to discuss my vacation request. I can only assume it is going to be denied. We have already paid a deposit on the house we are renting. My family and my friends have planned their vacations around this as well.

2 answers  |  asked May 18, 2016 02:09 AM [EST]  |  applies to Florida

Answers (2)

Phyllis Towzey
To add to Mr. Schofield's response, although an employer cannot treat you differently because you used FMLA, they CAN treat you the same as they would any employee who was out during the rent collection period for a non-FMLA reason and then had a vacation scheduled during another rent collection period. Unless you can think of a situation where someone similarly situated (i.e. another property manager or an employee who is needed more during certain periods of time due to job functions) in the company missed similar time for another personal (non-FMLA) reason and then was still allowed to take their vacation during a similar higher work period, then you might have a claim that denying your vacation time is unlawful retaliation under the FMLA. However, the chances that there's a similar situation in you company that you can compare to are pretty slim. You best option is to plead and lay out a case for hardship (you already paid a nonrefundable deposit, you didn't anticipate needed the FMLA leave, you would be so grateful if they would approve this request, you are so sorry for any inconvenience this causes, etc.) rather than to make threats or accuse them of violating the FMLA.

posted by Phyllis Towzey  |  May 18, 2016 06:18 AM [EST]
Arthur Schofield
When to grant vacation time, or deny vacation time, is completely discretionary to the employer. Leave under the FMLA, assuming it is covered leave, is not discretionary. Depending on the size of the employer and the employer's ability to provide for leave for extended times that vacation could be denied if it adds to an absence taken as a result of FMLA leave. I recommend treading carefully here. While it is a violation of the law for an employer to terminate you for taking leave under the FMLA, it has every right to terminate your employment for any absences not covered under the FMLA. If you vacation time is that important, perhaps another family member could take time to assist your father. Best of luck.

posted by Arthur Schofield  |  May 18, 2016 05:40 AM [EST]

Answer This Question

Sign In to Answer this Question

Related Questions with Answers

Have an Employment Law question?