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Boss Stunned When Employee Quits After Being Scheduled To Work During A Pre-Paid, Pre-Approved Vacation

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Employee quitting as angry boss watches

Sometimes, you really gotta hand it to some of these bosses out here — they have the sort of confidence most of us can only wish for!

Take, for example, a certain boss on Reddit. As he detailed in a post to Reddit's "r/AmItheA-–hole" subreddit, a forum where people can go to suss out whether they were in the wrong in a conflict, he made the kind of boss move that only the most brazen among us would be willing to attempt.

He tried to cancel his employee's vacation and was left shocked when it blew up in his face.

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A boss scheduled an employee for work during their pre-approved vacation.

Granted, the employee was new. As he explained, he hired the worker, named Lacey, only a week before the incident.

As the "manager of a small team at a large company," it's his job to make the schedule each week, and he quickly discovered he wasn't going to have the staff available to cover Lacey's vacation.



The employee made her vacation plans known during her job interview, and he agreed to accommodate them.

The boss says Lacey had informed him that the vacation was also non-refundable, and he agreed he'd do all he could to make sure her plans were accommodated. But when it came time to do the schedule, he realized he didn't have enough staff available. 

"I couldn’t accommodate her at all," he wrote, going on to say that there was "already another team member out" at the same time as Lacey's vacation. So he scheduled her anyway.

"I put up the schedule," he wrote, "and was very surprised at an e-mail from Lacey regarding her vacation not being scheduled." This is a rather strange way to talk about something you were already informed about well in advance. That's sort of the exact opposite of a "surprise," after all. Like, literally — in the dictionary.

But this boss was nonetheless unfazed. "I informed her we didn't have the flexibility," he writes, "and that she was expected to work."

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The new employee immediately resigned from her new job.

She said she was unwilling to sacrifice a $2500 vacation that had already been approved.

The boss says he was again surprised when he walked past Lacey's desk and found her packing her things. Which, again, should not have been surprising in the least, but whatever! When Lacey saw him, she handed in her things and quit her job on the spot. 

"She said that she wasn’t losing out on $2500 and that she already had an offer from one of the jobs she turned down that promised her vacation was safe," he wrote. Kind of hard to blame her, right? A lot of us would've quit even without the offer, just on principle. 

Suffice it to say this boss is not one of them, though. His shock over Lacey continued, especially once he got in trouble with his own boss for losing an employee so fast. But even after that, he still didn't get it. "In my experience," he wrote, "if you start a new job, you understand that you are last for vacation."

Yes sir, you absolutely understand that — when your vacation wasn't already approved in advance before you even started the job, that is.

Even the man's fiance thinks "I'm an idiot" for the way this whole thing shook out, but he was certain he was in the right. As you might guess, his fellow Redditors did not agree. 

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It is entirely legal under US labor law for an employer to cancel an employee's vacation, and employees have little rights in the matter when it happens.

Unfortunately for Lacey — and every other worker in the United States, for that matter — what her boss did is perfectly legal. 

As a lawyer described the legalities to the Los Angeles Times back in 2013, "even if the boss had originally authorized the leave, it is likely that the employer’s vacation policy is drafted broadly enough to permit the employer to change its mind due to changed business circumstances or labor needs" — pretty much exactly what happened between Lacey and her boss. 

The lawyer noted that this is the law even in states like California, with some of the most liberal labor laws in the country and one of the few states that even comes close to the more humane and reasonable labor laws in basically every developed country besides ours, like Germany for instance, as seen below.

Still, just because what the boss on Reddit did was legal doesn't mean it was moral. As the LA Times went on to say in its report about a similar boss who pulled a similar stunt, "where I come from, we generally call these people liars."

On Reddit, people could not have agreed more. "She conditionally accepted the job," one user responded to the boss. "The condition was her vacation. OMG what kind of company is this! She did the right thing by peacing out."

Another Redditor wholeheartedly agreed and chalked the situation up to the age-old work/life balance struggle. "You made it sound like you’d accommodate her and you didn’t," they wrote. "Plus, the rest of life is more important and vacations are important for mental health." 

And another user cast the whole uproar in management terms all bosses would do well to internalize. "When an employee quits they are firing their manager," the person wrote. "You showed her what kind of a manager you are and she fired you for it." Sometimes the truth hurts when you're on the business end of it.

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.