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“Four Paid Unused Vacation Days Will Cost You Thousands”: Worker Complies With A Made-Up Rule
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“Four Paid Unused Vacation Days Will Cost You Thousands”: Worker Complies With A Made-Up Rule

Interview With Author
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Transparency. Good communication. Fairness. If you have those three things, then your business is off to a great start. However, if your company’s policies revolve around lies and secrecy, you’re probably going to breed lots of strong resentment among your employees.

Some workers aren’t willing to sit idly by while they’re being mistreated. They push back. And that can have massive consequences. Case in point, redditor u/Honest_Star7348 revealed how she took her old company to court over management sneakily denying her unused paid vacation days. Read on for the full story about how malicious compliance led to justice being done.

Bored Panda reached out to the author of the story, redditor u/Honest_Star7348, and she was kind enough to answer our questions. She shared how to stand up for oneself at work when things get tough, as well as why it’s vital not to give your power away to your employer. You’ll find our full interview with her as you read on!

Good managers understand the importance of being honest with their staff. Bad managers prefer to lie or to keep their workers in the dark

Image credits: Damir Kopezhanov (not the actual photo)

One employee revealed how she took her company to court because of a managerial lie that got out of hand

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Image credits: Ezequiel Garrido (not the actual photo)

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Image credits: Honest_Star7348

Image credits: Anna Shvets (not the actual photo)

“I believe management wanted to avoid admitting a mistake to a woman of color”

The author told Bored Panda that she had no expectations at all that her story would get so much attention on Reddit and elsewhere on the internet. “Not at all! I read and enjoy Reddit stories, but I did not imagine posting my experience(s) would garner so much attention. I am grateful and blown away!” redditor u/Honest_Star7348 shared with us.

According to her, it was probably her courage to stand up for herself against management that really resonated with all of her readers. “I received great responses and encouragement. I read remarkable stories and learned from other redditor stories. Conversing with other redditors also helped readers connect more with me and my experience.”

Though the OP had many fans, some internet users were overly skeptical and slightly critical of her story. However, she thinks that this is perfectly all right. “I am always open to reasonable questions but will not engage in negativity to prove my experience is authentic,” she said.

Bored Panda was very curious to hear u/Honest_Star7348’s take on why management tried so hard to convince her that she didn’t have those 4 unused vacation days. She kindly shared her theory on this.

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“I believe management wanted to avoid admitting a mistake to a woman of color. It sounds petty, but that’s all I have. I had documented proof (employee handbook, pay stubs, and prior years’ vacation requests/approvals), and management verified my 4 unused vacation days with Human Resources. Yet, instead of admitting their mistake and allowing my vacation days, management did all they could to convince me I was wrong. This experience with management is by far the strangest thing I’ve experienced,” she opened up to us.

“I don’t give my power away to an employer”

Meanwhile, we were interested in the advice that the OP would give someone else in a similar situation as she was when it comes to standing up for oneself at work.

“My coworkers, family, and friends often ask for advice about an issue with their manager (employer). I tell them what I would do, but they usually don’t take my suggestions because they fear potential consequences. I’m unconcerned with consequences when asking questions or standing up for myself. I do what is best for me. I don’t give my power away to an employer. Sure, they can terminate me. But also, I can quit,” she explained that employees ought to act in their best interest.

“I would tell someone in a similar situation to use available resources to gain knowledge. They can talk to others, read the employee handbook, or google their questions. I would tell them to continue doing their best work because that directly reflects on them. Finally, I would ask them to do what is best for them because they have to live with the blessing or consequences of the outcome.”

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According to the redditor, quite a few readers actually thought that she was a man. She found this hilarious! “It made me wonder, do most readers believe only a man has this kind of guts to go against management and the employer? It’s an observation that stood out,” she said, adding that she hopes to share plenty more experiences from her own life on Reddit in the near future.

Image credits: Hunters Race (not the actual photo)

It might sound obvious, but it still needs to be said: managers should not lie to their employees about their vacation time

Awful communication, poor management, and abysmal conflict resolution skills can land any company in hot water. Even small arguments can grow out of control and lead to legal problems.

All it takes is one unfairly treated employee who has the guts to stand up to the system, as well as the smarts to subtly talk to colleagues and document the key evidence.

Broadly speaking, it’s a brilliant idea to get everything in writing. Follow up important meetings with emails. Get tangible proof of other people’s promises. This way, you’re standing on (slightly more) solid ground if and when you decide to confront your superiors.

When you’re meticulous about evidence, you go from a ‘we said/they said’ situation to a position of power. You can tell your boss, HR, or the court exactly what promises were made and when, what the company policy is, and how you were mistreated.

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From a purely managerial perspective, it’s best to keep things simple and honest. Don’t try to take away people’s unused paid vacation days. Don’t try to cover up this sneaky behavior with lies about some ‘unpublished handbook.’ Don’t try to gaslight your employees while looking them in the eyes and smiling widely.

This is very simple to do. It ensures that you’re not setting up a career minefield for your future self. Not only that but by being open and forthcoming, you’re setting a good example for all of your other colleagues about how they should approach problem-solving and communication.

If you catch your boss lying to you, you need to be diplomatic, but also make sure that they don’t repeat this sort of behavior

In the meantime, transparency does not mean that everyone should be privy to every bit of gossip about what’s going on behind closed doors. Very often, there’s genuinely sensitive information being considered at the top level (e.g. about long-term strategic plans, restructuring, new products, and projects). It needs to be protected until it’s time to go public.

So managers always have the option to withhold this sensitive info or to tell their employees that they’ll discuss it at a certain point in the future. The caveat is that if this information directly impacts the employees, it’s ethical to inform them about what’s going on.

Any major company policy changes, in terms of vacation days, employment contracts, growth opportunities, hiring, etc., need to be addressed. Crossing your fingers and hoping that your staff won’t ask any questions isn’t a professional approach.

If you happen to catch your boss lying, Harvard Business Review recommends reacting in a calm and constructive way. Think about the possible consequences of your actions if you call them out or complain about their behavior.

If you do confront them, be as diplomatic as you can, and don’t sound like you’re accusing them. Your goal should be for your boss to know where you stand in terms of your ethics and values so that they’re never dishonest with you again.

In the meantime, try to build stronger relationships at work so you have more people on your side if things ever go against you. If a lot of people report the same problem, it’s harder for management to sweep it under the rug.

So, dear Pandas, what did you think of the way the OP handled the entire situation? What would you have done if you were in her shoes? Have you ever had management try to take away your vacation days? Tell us all about it in the comment section!

Image credits: Headway (not the actual photo)

The author engaged with a lot of readers and shared some additional info in the comments

Here’s how some folks reacted to the story

Some internet users even shared their similar nightmare stories from work

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mralt avatar
MR
Community Member
2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Okay. But why wouldn't he be going straight to HR about it? That's not even his manager or manager's manager or manager's manager's manager's job. They likely screwed up somehow and didn't correct it. But that's who's job it was.

stephanietrosch avatar
Scotira
Community Member
2 months ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I checked the original thread and they claimed: "there was a chain of command to follow and they couldn't go directly to HR" Now this is just plain weird. Some other redditors said OPs other posts got taken down shortly after being posted and this one was the only one lasting longer, so 🤷‍♀️ even with the employment situation as it is in the US I call BS on this one. 😅

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idrow avatar
Id row
Community Member
2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

How do you land a new job without being able to provide a reference from your old one though? Seems like a catch 22.

rickseiden avatar
Rick Seiden
Community Member
2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I encourage my people to take their vacation days and if I think they are working too much, I tell them they should consider taking a day off, using flex time from the extra hours they worked and not their PTO, to have a long weekend and take a break.

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mralt avatar
MR
Community Member
2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Okay. But why wouldn't he be going straight to HR about it? That's not even his manager or manager's manager or manager's manager's manager's job. They likely screwed up somehow and didn't correct it. But that's who's job it was.

stephanietrosch avatar
Scotira
Community Member
2 months ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I checked the original thread and they claimed: "there was a chain of command to follow and they couldn't go directly to HR" Now this is just plain weird. Some other redditors said OPs other posts got taken down shortly after being posted and this one was the only one lasting longer, so 🤷‍♀️ even with the employment situation as it is in the US I call BS on this one. 😅

Load More Replies...
idrow avatar
Id row
Community Member
2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

How do you land a new job without being able to provide a reference from your old one though? Seems like a catch 22.

rickseiden avatar
Rick Seiden
Community Member
2 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I encourage my people to take their vacation days and if I think they are working too much, I tell them they should consider taking a day off, using flex time from the extra hours they worked and not their PTO, to have a long weekend and take a break.

Load More Comments
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