A few weeks from now, I have to show up in court for a civil case about a debt. This would be 2 weeks into my new job, which I have not started yet. I still have to do the paper work.

I thought the matter was settled prior to accepting this job offer. I have to ask for a couple of hours off to attend court. They offer 1 week vacation pay. I'm not trying to get paid time off, unless it's immediately available and is ok to use.

How would I approach this?


As usual, I would not go to my boss with a "problem" but with a "solution".

Hi [ boss / manager ], I have a very important appointment at xx PM (1). Would it be OK to work [ earlier / later / best for your team ] so that I can leave for a couple of hours with no negative impact on [ X - Y schedule / task ] ?

If you have a negative answer, because your solution doesn't fit their needs, ask them how you could achieve the same goal with benefit for both sides.

I would not tell them anything personal (court or wathever else it could be). It's private, so keep it private. If you know you'll have to go once or twice more, tell them you have some other scheduled appointments ASAP, with days and hours.

Just be professional, ask them in a nice, neutral and professional way. They'll handle it with the team. It seems to be a one-shot, so no need to worry that much, and make a big deal out of nothing. Of course, keep track and a paper/mail of the agreement ;)

(1) you can also mention that you forgot to tell them earlier, and apologize for it. It depends on the company culture and/or boss attitude, but you should have small clues by now, after 2 weeks, on how you can handle/approach them.

  • I haven't even started is the thing. Next week is my first week. I agree that is a better approach to present positives. I didn't think I would have to be in court and actually getting the job was sort of unexpected. I would prefer not to mention it but also saying court while it seems "important" also suggests bad... Like I'm not a trustworthy/reliable person. – it_is_written May 26 '18 at 6:30
  • @it_is_written : I don't think you need to act different. The facts are the same, the importance is the same, it should be handled in a neutral and professional manner. If you haven't started yet, get in touch ASAP to let them know you need to be out for a couple of hours. – OldPadawan May 26 '18 at 6:34
  • It's the weekend now. First day is on Tuesday. I'm super syked to actually do a profession that I'm interested in. But ahh this... "So btw I have to go to court..." I really like your approach though. I'm not sure if I did a great job first day and I ask at the end of the day... Or ask immediately in the beginning of the day... "Welcome to our office" uhh yes... I have to go to court next week. – it_is_written May 26 '18 at 6:49
  • Thank you I like your templated approach. I hope it goes well. Don't think I'd be fired on the spot for asking or within a week. – it_is_written May 26 '18 at 17:27
  • I sent in a basic email along the lines of the template above response was "I'm sure we can figure something out. Thanks" I could have avoided all of this too I unfortunately have a tendency to make things worse than they are. Sent email on a Tuesday week before requested partial day off. – it_is_written May 29 '18 at 15:03

Find out how frequently you would need to attend these court hearings. If this will be a one-off, then don't worry too much. Just ask your boss for time off as you normally would. You also don't need to tell them the reason for your absence. Reasonable people understand that unexpected issues come up, and shouldn't make a big deal of it.

If you would need to attend these court hearings frequently, you should alert your boss and the team. Knowing you would be unavailable on as yet unknown dates is better than frequent absences occurring unexpectedly at short notice. When you do know the dates, inform the boss and the team immediately, so they can adjust the plan accordingly. It might be difficult to avoid disclosing your reason for absence in this case.

  • Thanks for your thoughts. That is something I considered. This seems to just keep going. This is the 5th about to be 6th month since it started although only the 4th time to be in court. I thought it was over by me paying while the money was taken no settlement happened my mistake(no paper trail). So yeah. Just sucks to be labeled like yes I am a tainted individual. It appears I just made a blunder on my most recent filing so I don't know garnishment/bankruptcy... Or just ask for 2-3 hours... – it_is_written May 26 '18 at 6:27

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