Disciplinary Action Unauthroised Leave

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about leave:

My request for an annual leave was refused; then it was converted into sick leave due to work-related stress. I feel they are planning to take disciplinary action – even they know the underlying cause for it.

Signed, Distressed

Dear Distressed:

You indeed are stressed over the change of a request for what you call an annual leave to a sick leave. Hidden within your brief note, is the thought that management at your workplace has come to the impression that you are emotionally in need of rest and recovery. From your short description, I can’t know why you think that your company is planning on disciplinary action. Nor do I know what is your question. I assume you’ve concluded that changing an annual leave to a sick leave is not fair.

Your note implies that an annual leave is expected and that your company should have granted it. I know a week or more of vacation is traditional, but I’ve never heard that getting an annual leave is a workplace practice. A leave of absence can be requested, but that usually means being off without pay whereas vacation is with pay. If you mean changing vacation to a sick leave, that could mean your management is charging time off to sick leave instead of charging being off to vacation time. And that could be to your advantage.

My advice is that you need to talk with your boss and Human Resources. Ask what is the meaning of this change. It is better to learn even bad news than to allow worrisome questions play over and over in your mind. Especially if you need your job, and most of us do, don’t be shy about asking questions. Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS. By that I mean the workplace is best understood as a in a continuous process of communication; communication intended for the good of all stakeholders.

William Gorden