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

It's what happens when you renege on your side of an agreement.

employee quitting job packed up box Drazen Zigic / Shutterstock

When people begin a new job or career, they are usually asked by management if there is any pre-planned time off requested. And while most workplaces will accommodate those requests, as they know people make plans months in advance, sometimes employees may be thrown for a loop.

For one employee who decided that her job not granting her pre-approved vacation was grounds for something drastic, her boss was quite astounded with her choice.


As he detailed in a now-deleted post on Reddit, 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.

A boss was flabbergasted when their new employee quit after their pre-approved vacation was denied.

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 was 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. But when it came time to do the schedule, he realized he didn't have enough staff available. 


AITA for not scheduling the new hires vacation?

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The boss said Lacey had informed him that the vacation was also non-refundable, and he agreed beforehand he'd do all he could to make sure her plans were honored.


"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 Lacey anyway.

"I put up the schedule," he wrote, "and was very surprised at an email from Lacey regarding her vacation not being scheduled." But this boss was nonetheless unfazed, adding, "I informed her we didn't have the flexibility and that she was expected to work."

The new employee was unwilling to sacrifice her vacation and resigned immediately.

Lacey said she was unwilling to sacrifice a $2,500 vacation that had already been approved. When the boss walked past the new hire's desk and found her packing up, she handed in her things and quit her job on the spot.

"She said that she wasn’t losing out on $2,500 and that she already had an offer from one of the jobs she turned down that promised her vacation was safe," he wrote.


It's kind of hard to blame her, as a lot of us would have quit even without the offer, just on principle. Suffice it to say, this boss was not one of them, though, as his shock over Lacey continued, especially once he got in trouble with his own boss for losing an employee so fast.

male coworkers discussing other employee quitting nappy / Pexels

But even after that, he still didn't get it, saying, "In my experience, if you start a new job, you understand that you are last for vacation." However, Lacey's vacation was already approved in advance before she even started the job.


Even the boss's fiancé thought he was in the wrong for how he handled the situation. And, as one might guess, the man's fellow Redditors agreed.

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Unfortunately, it's 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.

Still, just because what the boss 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."

Other users commented on how a condition of being hired was that her vacation time would be honored, with some chalking the situation up to the age-old work-life balance struggle. They stressed the importance of vacations for mental health, which rings true entirely.


Burnout is all too common among employees, whether they've been at their workplace for years or have just started in their position. The fact that this boss prioritized work over the employee's vacation, which can double as a mental health escape, understandably came as a giant red flag to Lacey.

Decades of research has found that workplace burnout is directly linked to psychological and physical effects, including overall job dissatisfaction, depression, insomnia, headaches and even heart disease!

Lacey's experience with quitting her job so quickly after her vacation was promised and then canceled speaks to how toxic thinking like this affects employees. Workers are told to give 110% of effort at work, but are sometimes not returned the favor.


It's time someone started turning the tables.

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