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The title pretty much says it all. I've had this happen one other time.

I requested two days off for vacation (Friday/Saturday) a month in advance, my request was approved, so I went and purchased my tickets for a boat trip, hotel room, and tickets to an amusement park (Spent a good $300 or more).

Then two days before my trip my employer tells me he canceled my trip because he needs me to do overtime that I hadn't even signed up for.

I work security so we never have a "busy season" and we have plenty of flex officers to work, but I was wondering can my employer cancel vacation days after you've already spent non-refundable money for them?

closed as off-topic by Philip Kendall, mhoran_psprep, Joe Strazzere, The Wandering Dev Manager, gnat Sep 5 '15 at 16:38

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  • 2
    You seem to be asking a legal question. This is not the place for that. Furthermore, even if this were the place and we were lawyers, you would need to show us your employment contract/employee manual and tell us what jurisdiction you're in. In any case, without knowing more about this, it sounds like your employer should at least reimburse your non-refundable expenses, and be very thankful that you don't have a very large family and didn't spend very much money at all. Have you even told this to him? – Stephan Branczyk Sep 5 '15 at 8:12
  • Post on law.stackexchage and state your location – paparazzo Sep 5 '15 at 14:45
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    For what it's worth, if the trip is a particularly expensive one it might be worth paying the hefty surcharge for rescheduleable tickets (basically buying an insurance policy)... but definitely tell management that you had made both personal and financial commitments for those dates and if they'rs going to cancel your leave it'd be appreciated if they made some effort to at least cover the sunk costs. They may well have a policy which covers this if you request it. – keshlam Sep 6 '15 at 3:45
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What I miss being mentioned is the bit where you told your employer that you spent $300 that you cannot get back, and your employer said to you "bad luck, not my problem".

Does your employer actually know about your cost? Many employers would think "I know Chelsie took two days off, but I'd like her to be there, so I ask her to come in, and if that causes a problem, she will tell me and we sort it out somehow". If you complained let's say in half a year's time how you lost $300, your employer might be totally astonished about this and say "but why didn't you say something?"

On the other hand an employer might have a sudden, totally unexpected need for you to be there, and if you told him about your tickets might say "sorry, but we really, really need you here on those days, so write down any cost that you have, don't forget anything, put it on expenses, and I will personally make sure it will all be paid for".

So the first thing is to inform the employer (or the manager, or whoever is responsible) and negotiate. If in your opinions unreasonable demands are made by your manager, you go to the next level or to HR and complain - your manager's attitude and his manager's attitude might be different.

If you can't come to an agreement, consider that the money you get out of your employment is less than one would think based on your official salary, so you might look for a position elsewhere.

Whether your employer has the legal right to cancel your holiday doesn't really matter, as long as he knows that you will be very unhappy if it happens, and you can quit if you don't like it, and he can cancel your employment if he doesn't like it.

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