Worker's Boss Requires Detailed Explanations Of Every Vacation Request, Including Flight Numbers & Itineraries

It's none of his business. But unfortunately it's totally legal.

woman fed up with her boss who requires detailed explanation of every vacation request fizkes / Shutterstock

At all too many jobs, simply asking for time off is a hassle. But for one worker on Reddit, her boss' vacation policy is downright intrusive in a way that seems like it should be illegal. 

Her boss requires a detailed explanation of every vacation request before he approves.

This ridiculous situation may sound shocking, but it's sadly in line with America's approach toward vacation time overall.

A 2023 Pew Research survey found that nearly half of American workers don't use all the vacation time they're given because they're afraid of how it will affect their reputation and workload. 12% even said their boss had actively discouraged them from taking vacation.


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This worker's boss, though, takes things to an extreme. Rather than outright telling employees he doesn't want them taking a vacation, he instead makes the process of getting time off approved insufferable, intrusive, and uncomfortable.


This boss requires documentation of things like itineraries and flight numbers to use vacation time.

"My boss has been an absolute menace for the entire time I’ve worked here," the worker wrote in her post. "He recently sent out a message to all of us stating in order for approval for time off we need to 'give detailed accounts' on why we are requesting time off. 

This includes providing flight numbers and times if they're flying. For visits to family, he wants to know exactly where they are traveling to and where they will be staying. That is, of course, none of his business and an entirely inappropriate invasion of privacy. 

Boss Requires Detailed Explanation Of Every Vacation RequestPhoto: Antonio Guillem / Shutterstock


And it's left this worker in an infuriating situation. "I’m going on vacation (for the first time in three years) next weekend," she wrote, "and want an extra day off just to decompress but I don’t feel like telling him why."

That's certainly understandable, as is the question she posed to Reddit: "Is this even [expletive] legal?"

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Unfortunately, it is indeed perfectly legal for a boss to demand details about how vacation time is used.

There's no question that this boss' demands are wildly inappropriate, intrusive, and frankly none of his business. 


But as Alison Green, an HR expert and author who runs the blog Ask A Manager, put it in regards to a reader who asked her about a similar situation, "That’s just the law of Sane Person Behavior, not actual law."

Under employment laws, bosses are in fact entitled to know how you're spending your vacation and the details of when you'll be leaving, returning, etc. 

That doesn't mean you're required to furnish them, however. Workers are not required by law to reveal any personal information to employers unless it is required in situations such as the use of the Family Medical Leave Act, for example. 



Green suggested three ways of responding to these intrusive questions:

  1. Turn it back around on your boss by saying something like, "Oh is this a bad time for me to take vacation? Is there a better one?" 
  2. Call out how unreasonable their demand is by repeating the company vacation policy back to them, pointing out that the policy doesn't require sharing this information, and then asking, "Am I missing something?"
  3. Be vague about your vacation plans —"I'm going to France from the 19th to the 25th"— and leave it at that. And then when you return from your vacation, for the love of God, find a different job



That, in the end, is ultimately what this woman chose. "I have come to realize I need to have a backbone with this, even if that means retaliation from my boss," she wrote. "This job isn't worth it to me anymore."

Hear, hear. Vacation time is part of our pay. It's nobody's business how we use it but our own. 


Nobody should have to put up with this, even if it is legal. 

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