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PTO Might Have People PO-ed

, , , , , , | Working | August 16, 2023

A few years ago, I worked at a call center. I took the job because I had been laid off from my previous job, which I loved. 

The experience with the call center was horrible, and having newly been diagnosed with a painful medical condition wasn’t helping, though I was able to get an ADA accommodation. I had a good supervisor starting out, but she abruptly quit and I was transferred to another team. The supervisor of that team was a nightmare.

[Supervisor] constantly gave me a hard time, especially with my medical condition and the accommodation I received. He always found a reason to pick on me. I used my PTO (paid time off) for doctor’s appointments. 

I started looking for another job after three months, and I got an interview for a job similar to the one I loved. I worked from 8:00 to 5:00, so I would need to use a couple of hours of PTO for it. I put my request in, and it was approved. I went to the interview, and I had a good feeling.

After I arrived at work, I got an email from [Supervisor].

Supervisor: “When you are late, you must call to report it. I have marked you down as being late, and you have gotten an occurrence.”

I emailed him back.

Me: “I used PTO, and I am not late. It was approved three days ago.”

Supervisor: “I didn’t approve it. The system automatically approved it. I was unaware of it, and it’s imperative that you are here at your scheduled time.”

For the record, our systems did automatically approve PTO, and the supervisor would get an email notifying them of this. We did not have to ask permission or notify the supervisor when we were taking PTO; this is what we were advised in training. It could be denied if too many people had already requested off. 

Another coworker who started the same day I did had just been out for three days due to illness, so I asked her if [Supervisor] had gotten onto her about it. She said that he hadn’t, and she told me she had no PTO left, and he hadn’t said anything at all about any of her tardiness or absences. She was absent or late a lot; she told me she overslept or some days just didn’t want to come into this h***hole.

I felt like he was singling me out. 

[Supervisor] emailed me at least three more times to complain about my taking PTO, so I reported him for harassment and bullying. 

A week, he decided we needed to have a meeting.

Supervisor: “I called this meeting to discuss the PTO you took last week. It’s very disruptive to have you out. It affects our business, and we need everyone on the phone.”

Me: “That PTO time was approved.”

Supervisor: “Well, I am going to put you on a performance plan. I see you have already used eight hours of PTO since you started. You only have twenty-four hours left. So, from now on, if you have a doctor’s or dentist’s appointment, it will need to be done before or after work. I need you to sign this guaranteeing you will not use any more PTO.”

Me: “So, you are telling me that I cannot use my PTO for doctor’s appointments? There are not any stipulations on how PTO can be used. Can you show me where it is in writing that we can’t use PTO as we see fit?”

Supervisor: “Um, well, it’s an unwritten rule.”

I handed [Supervisor] my name badge.

Me: “No, it’s just something you made up. Goodbye, [Supervisor]. I quit!”

Supervisor: “You can’t quit! You must work your scheduled shift! We need people on the phones!”

I laughed at him and walked out! 

Three days later, the new job I had interviewed for called me to give me the job. 

I had never had a job tell me I couldn’t use PTO as I see fit.

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