is it normal to cancel days off for a resigning employee?

A reader writes:

I am a new manager, though I’ve led individual contributors on project-based work for a large part of my career. My direct manager, “Sam,” said something puzzling to me last week and I’ve been chewing on it all weekend.

One of my direct reports, “Drew,” put in their two-week notice on Monday. We’ve recently had a re-org and they’d only been reporting to me for four days when notice was given, and their previous manager had approved PTO for Friday long before the re-org occurred so we only had nine of 10 working days to transition their work. In addition, when Drew submitted their two-week notice, the HR team decided to shorten that period by one day so that they wouldn’t have to process one day of payroll for the departing employee in the next payroll period (Drew will get paid for their full notice, just doesn’t have to work on their last day). While it’s inconvenient to me and the transition plan to only have eight out of 10 working days, it’s not the end of the world and we’re rolling with it.

On Friday, Sam called me and chided me for not cancelling Drew’s PTO and told me that everyone at this company “lacks maturity” and Sam is going to talk to Drew about professionalism next week because they need to know “how things are done.”

I suspect it’s a sour grapes thing on Sam’s part because it’s gotten out that Drew is going to work as a consultant for our industry, and Sam thinks Drew is a traitor (their actual words) for accepting an offer from this consultancy group. I disagree that it’s an issue for several reasons: we don’t have a non-compete agreement, Drew applied for a publicly posted position, and non-compete clauses are not legal in my state for people who make less than $100,000/year anyway.

I guess I have three major issues with the idea that I should have cancelled Drew’s PTO once they gave notice:

1. Drew had plane tickets and hotels booked for a long weekend away. It seems unreasonable to ask them to change those plans because they submitted their resignation notice.
2. The PTO was submitted and approved long before Drew put in their notice and long before they were moved under me. I inherited this PTO approval, I didn’t make it.
3. This would do more damage than it’s worth. Why wouldn’t Drew quit on the spot if I’d cancelled it, which would further impede effective transition planning? Wouldn’t this damage my team’s trust in me, my leadership, and my ethics?

Legally, there is nothing wrong with Drew accepting an offer from that company. Morally, I have no problem with this move and the positions are different enough that I’m not super concerned with intellectual property issues. And even if those things weren’t true, Drew is still in the industry, and their partner and many of their friends still work for our company, so it’s not like they want to watch us burn. They just want to move on to their next role and I say, let ‘em. I appreciate their contribution, have truly enjoyed working with them, and wish them well in their future endeavors. It’s a relationship I intend to maintain and I don’t want my boss to nuke it or torpedo the transition because they’re having a hard time managing hurt feelings.

Here are the things I don’t think are normal:

1. Rescinding previously accepted PTO during the resignation period, particularly when flights are involved.
2. Being upset when an employee accepts another offer to the point of skip level calling them to chew them out, calling their maturity/professionalism into question, and informing them they’re no longer eligible for rehire under the guise of “coaching.”
3. Expecting that employee to finish out their notice period after one or both of those situations occur.

Is this situation normal and I need to adjust my expectations around accepting the resignation of a direct report AND that Sam should go ahead and deliver “professional coaching” to Drew or is my boss being petty?

Sam is being a jerk, and a bad manager.

Some employers do a have a policy that resigning employees can’t use PTO during their notice periods. Typically, though, that’s designed for situations where someone wants to give two weeks notice and then take most or all of those two weeks off, leaving their manager with no time to transition their work. It’s not usually applied to a request for a single day off, especially one that was already approved earlier. (It also doesn’t typically apply to a situation where someone gives really generous notice — like a month or more — and wants to take time off during that period; if it did, no one would ever give any extra notice.)

The idea that missing a single day during a notice period somehow “lacks maturity” or is unprofessional is ridiculous and overblown. If you, Drew’s actual manager, had concerns about whether there would be enough time to cover all the transition stuff you needed to cover, you could maybe address that, depending on the circumstances; there are some situations where it might make sense to say, “That’s going to cut it really close on XYZ, any chance we can move your last day to the 6th instead of the 5th since we won’t have you for part of your notice period?” (Those situations are rare, though, and even then you’d need to be prepared to hear Drew couldn’t do it.)

But Sam doesn’t sound like they have any actual work-related concerns; they’re just objecting on the principle of it all.

All the instincts you wrote about in your letter are correct.

{ 193 comments… read them below }

  1. Pastor Petty Labelle*

    Drew is just not going to show up that day. What are you going to do fire him?

    Sam has weird ideas about professional norms. Employees leave. Its not disloyal, unprofessional or immature. It is literally how business works.

    If I were Drew and Sam talked to me about immaturity by taking one day of leave during my notice period I would literally laugh in his face and tell him to look in the mirror. Okay maybe not, but I certainly wouldn’t pay a darn bit of attention to it.

    1. Mordreder*

      Yeah, trying to cancel Drew’s PTO when he already has “plane tickets and hotels booked” is a great way to get shorter/no notice.

      1. Gem-Like Flame*

        It’s also a great way to put all of Sam’s other reports on notice that they can expect to get spitefully shafted when/if THEY put in THEIR notices as well so they’d better take proactive steps to protect themselves at Sam’s expense.

        1. Brain the Brian*

          Bingo to absolutely all of this. Senior management is trying to grasp at powe over Drew that they no longer have.

    2. Jennifer Strange*

      Drew is just not going to show up that day. What are you going to do fire him?

      I remember giving my two weeks notice at a country club where I bartended and waited tables (worst job of my life). On my last week I noticed I was slated to work the morning shift for Friday (6:30 am to 12:00 pm) and in the afternoon shift was a question mark. I asked the owner who I would be handing off the shift to and she said “Oh, well I figured you’d just take it.” So I’d have worked 6:30 am to 6:30 pm (by myself the whole time). I told her that I had plans (said plans were to sit on my couch and watch TV). It was so freeing to know her choice was either to okay it or just fire me for the last three days of work.

    3. Random Dice*

      Sam is a trenchcoat filled with hornets.

      You should see very clearly that he’s really emotional and illogical, and deeply outside of rational or sane streams of thought.

      A person is a “traitor” for going to another job?! Just a field of red flags.

      Calling up that person’s manager to try to screw them over? Giant red flags.

      Ranting that everyone at a company lacks professionalism… while having an emotional tantrum, acting unprofessionally, and speaking unprofessionally? I mean… what even.

        1. Saturday*

          Yeah, the fact that Sam is calling someone else immature is amazing. His response is completely immature!

      1. MigraineMonth*

        Also, he’s doing real damage to the company with his little tantrum. A good employee puts in 2-weeks notice, and he a) calls them a traitor, b) rants at them, c) makes them ineligible for rehire, d) tries to get his one approved day of vacation canceled *even though HR decided to shorten his notice period*.

        Every other employee is watching Sam bomb these bridges. Be prepared for more people to quit, for them to do so without notice, for there to be issues hiring reliable people because many have been marked ineligible-for-rehire.

        1. Miette*

          Ya know, it’s that “ineligible for rehire” thing that’s getting to me. I wonder if OP might be able to safely let HR know that the reason for that status is not because Drew did anything bad but because Sam is a reactionary douche canoe. I mean, they might not take it from OP rather than a higher-level manager, but years from now, if a future firm is calling for references, there will be this “do not rehire” note that might bite Drew, through no fault of his.

        2. Observer*

          Also, he’s doing real damage to the company with his little tantrum.

          Totally agree with this.

          makes them ineligible for rehire

          I wonder if he can actually do that. It’s interesting that he did not email HR to say the Drew needs to be marked ineligible for rehire, but is just going to “coach” Drew and tell him that.

          1. MigraineMonth*

            My understanding is that Sam has already marked them ineligible for rehire. When HR asked why, Sam said it was because they’d had to “coach” Drew on professionalism (sort of like a write-up in a different company).

        3. e271828*

          Not only at the company, but as Drew is going to be doing consulting in the same industry, the anecdote about “Company who called me on the carpet, called me a traitor, and cancelled my long-booked PTO because I gave notice” will travel.

      2. Reluctant Mezzo*

        He sounds like the guy who wanted to lecture his employee for daring to go to her own graduation. Two years after it happened.

    4. bamcheeks*

      Not disagreeing with what you’ve said, but I think LW deliberately used gender-neutral names and pronouns, so it’s fascinating how many people are defaulting to “he”!

      1. Lenora Rose*

        It happens a lot, and in both directions. I even noticed Alison do it on another recent post (she corrected her reply and removed my comment, which is a good way to handle it).

        I tend to assume it’s that habits die hard, and Drew sounds more masculine to some. I know I have typed up a reply, then had to go back through and correct every pronoun.

      2. Silver Robin*

        I put a comment into moderation so maybe there can be a pinned comment at the top, because the misgendering is all over the comment section.

        I get why people are doing it and that it is not necessarily deliberate, but it is still disheartening.

        1. Dog momma*

          It shouldn’t matter. and it drives me nuts that you can’t make comments and move on to other responses bc people get so hung up on this. It shouldn’t matter either way!
          Haven’t you ever wondered if maybe that’s part of how the LW s keep their’s stories vague and anonymous esp if its a small company etc?

      3. Lea*

        I didn’t read Sam or drew as gender neutral although after it’s being pointed out I can see it as a possibility?

        I don’t think anyone is purposefully misgendering, they probably just read those names as male?

        1. Silver Robin*

          The pronouns throughout the letter for Drew are gender neutral, therefore, we should use those pronouns for them. It is common practice to take the lead from the LW, but when it is not clear, Alison has historically defaulted to “she”. In this case, however, it is quite clear.

    5. Keely*

      I was called a traitor to my face by my coworkers when I quit my last awful, toxic job. Funny enough it was the assistant who tried to get me fired who said that. I’m pretty sure it was because she was miserable (dead end job and she couldn’t move due to family, miserable home life with loser husband who she married because he was the first man to pay attention to her, etc) and was angry that I made a better life for myself. My boss also told me I stabbed him in the back when I quit with a month of notice (two weeks required in my contract) so that apple didn’t fall far from the poisoned tree.

      To me Sam really is the immature one. I wouldn’t be surprised if Drew peaced out before the notice period is up is Sam is going to make a thing out of this.

      1. AngryOctopus*

        When I quit my first job I got some bad advice that I had to quit to the big boss and not my supervisor. He called me “immature and irresponsible” for quitting and then told me to not bother working out my 2 weeks notice. He was really a colossal a-hole (used to yell at post docs who spoke English as a second language for mispronouncing words in informal lab meeting, for example), and yes, I should have resigned to my supervisor (thanks for the bad advice, fellow lab person who probably should have known better), but in the end it hurt the lab way more than it hurt me. Sam is going the same way here. If he tried to talk to me about how my day off was so unprofessional, it’s fairly likely that I’d just say “I don’t need, this, and I’m not coming in anymore. Best of luck.”

      2. MigraineMonth*

        My previous manager jokingly referred to a former report as “that traitor” because he’d moved into a role elsewhere in the department with better pay. I never trusted that manager to have my best interests at heart again.

        Fortunately, that manager retired and now I report to the “traitor”. They fought for a promotion for me (and have a much less offensive sense of humor).

    6. I Have RBF*

      IMO, Sam is an ass, wanting the LW to rescind PTO approval for someone who has booked flights, etc. Do not be like Sam. It would get around in the industry, and then the LW, too, would be seen as an ass.

    1. Random Dice*

      That’s not BEC, that’s deeply concerning behavior that provides a window into a deeply concerning worldview.

    2. MigraineMonth*

      Uh, what? No, BEC is when you’re so fed up with someone that everything they do, no matter how innocuous, irritates you. (“Look at that bitch, sitting there eating crackers like they own the place.”)

      This is a full-on unprofessional tantrum by Sam that will do serious damage to OP’s company.

      1. Random Dice*

        I think we’re saying roughly the same thing.

        I’m just being pedantic about the subtext of BEC. A BEC is someone who gets under your skin for insubstantial reasons and then everything they do makes you wild with irritation. It has inherent in it that you know that you’re reacting somewhat illogically – technically they didn’t do anything bad enough for the level of fury you feel, but dammit you do anyway. (It wouldn’t apply, for instance, to not liking an actor because he’s known to be a sexual predator – that’s a good reason to have that kind of reaction even to minor infractions.)

        Sam’s reaction was not “I don’t know why but everything they do makes me quietly angry inside” (though even if he was having a BEC moment, it’s his job to manage his Big Feelings at work, which I hear you saying too) – it’s a reflection of a deeply twisted and problematic worldview.

  2. Time for Tea*

    Well, if you didn’t know before, you now know who Sam is. Watch your back and be very careful when it’s time for you to move on.

    1. Velawciraptor*

      This. Sam has shown you who they are; believe them.

      Also, I’d be concerned about this ” you’re not eligible for rehire” thing. Is that true? Or is that Sam just announcing an intent to blacklist Drew from future positions? Because that feels like something that HR should know about.

      1. HonorBox*

        That’s a really good point. Drew did everything by the books and now is unable to return because Sam has an issue with it. While maybe not illegal, it is something that HR should know about.

          1. Statler von Waldorf*

            I disagree that there’s an actionable lawsuit here. What laws do you think are being broken here? It’s not illegal to refuse to rehire an employee in any jurisdiction that I am aware of.

            You’re not completely wrong, as in theory, any employee leaving could sue a company for any reason. However, I don’t see a lawsuit that will even survive a motion to dismiss here, never mind a lawsuit that stands a change of winning at trial, given the facts in evidence.

            1. Sleve*

              IANAL but it sounds like tortious interference with a business relationship to me. The rest of the business and the letter writer would have been willing to rehire Drew, and it seems clear that the business doesn’t have a blanket policy that makes every single resigning employee ineligible for rehire. Sam is messing with the business relationship between them and Drew.

              What if the job falls through and Drew wants to come back one week later? What if potential future employers at companies with inflexible hiring policies aren’t allowed to hire Drew when they call up for a reference and discover Drew is ineligible for rehire at this workplace? It’s not impossible. The missing piece is the need to show economic harm, but Drew is ever refused a job based on this there might be a case to consider. From what we know here it wouldn’t be a waste of time for Drew to make initial enquiries with a lawyer if it did happen, even if the specifics meant it didn’t go any further.

              1. Statler von Waldorf*

                Tortious interference is when a third party interferes with the business relationship. Sam is not a third party. He is an employee of the business who is authorized to act on it’s behalf. Thus, that legal claim is invalid in my jurisdiction and all the others I am aware of.

                If we follow your logic, any manager who fired an employee could potentially be sued for tortious interference. After all, by firing an employee, they are definitely interfering with the relationship between the business and the soon-to-be-ex employee.

                Laws on providing references are a lot more jurisdiction dependent. In mine, in addition to proving economic harm as a direct result of the reference, which is extremely hard, Drew would need to prove that Sam acted with malice when providing the reference, which is even harder.

                The reason it’s so much harder is because the legal definition of malice requires proving that Sam lied or acted with reckless disregard for the truth. If Sam actually has the authority to prevent Drew from being re-hired, then that fact alone is a complete defense against any claims that Drew might make. The reasons that Sam did it for are legally irrelevant unless you can prove that those reasons are a sham to cover up that the firing was actually discrimination against a protected class.

                Again I’ll state it; there’s no winning case here given the facts in evidence in my jurisdiction. You may think that Sam’s actions suck, and I wouldn’t disagree with you. However, just because they suck doesn’t mean they’re illegal.

        1. Zelda*

          “Unable to return” in itself may not be a huge issue– would they ever want to return? But when potential future employers contact this company for reference checks, “not eligible for rehire” is sometimes taken as code for “this worker stank and we fired them out of a cannon; we just won’t give you any details because we are afraid of frivolous lawsuits.” Drew *definitely* wants and deserves that mess cleared up.

          1. ferrina*

            Exactly. This is a common question asked in reference checks- are they eligible for rehire?
            A standard resignation would generally be marked as “eligible for rehire”. If they burned crazy bridges on the way out, they would not be eligible. “Eligible for rehire” doesn’t mean “we would immediately rehire them”. It just means “we’d consider them”

            It’s really bad that Sam is reacting to a normal resignation with “ineligible for rehire”. But I’m also not sure if Sam gets to make that call. In some companies it’s HR that demarks it.

      2. Jenga*

        Sorry Sam, if I’m Drew and have a booked vacation, I’m not showing up that day…and there’s not really much you can do about that.

        1. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

          For serious. I’m not going to show up that day. And nonsense like that makes me consider cutting down on my notice if things are going to be crappy for 2 weeks.

          Reminds me a bit of a situation in my first retail job. I asked for a Sunday off 3 months in advance so I could play in a concert and the manager agreed. A few days before the concert, the District Manager was in town and got upset that she hadn’t approved the one day off. She already didn’t like me – best guess is that it was because I (a part-timer in university) didn’t treat the job as my #1 priority at all times. Even though my shift was covered, she put me back on the schedule for Sunday. I went back through a year worth of schedules and we never had that many people on a Sunday, even during Christmas.

          I talked to the manager and told her I wouldn’t be there on Sunday. I had made a commitment to play in this concert. She was fine with that and didn’t even write me up.

        1. Tio*

          The thing is, that it doesn’t have to be under Sam. If Sam is bad but the rest of the company is ok, then this could be somewhere they want to return. This happened to a friend of mine; she worked at a company, gave notice, even extended the notice due to Covid, and then her petty boss apparently marked her as “do not rehire”. So when she lost her next job during covid, she applied to a much better sector of the company (it was good overall, and a large company, just one particular department had a not great rep) and when she did, found out she was blocked.

          1. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

            This exactly. Definitely tell Drew that this has been threatened. Ideally, he should try to get some kind of written communication about the decision and rationale. This might get Sam to back off from actually doing it.

            1. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

              If necessary, a lawyer might be able to write a threatening letter about how barring rehire for no good reason is against some law. (IANAL).

      3. MigraineMonth*

        Yes. OP, please follow up with HR about this part even if nothing else. It can damage Drew’s reputation, and it also damages your company because presumably you would want to be able to hire Drew in the future (maybe after Sam has been managed out).

        1. Random Dice*

          Also please tell Drew about these conversations, so he can document and prepare to sue if Sam continues in his unhinged ways.

      4. Hannah Lee*

        Yeah, the ONLY good thing about this is that Sam has showed LW their nasty, irrational, destructive, vindictive side.

        Not only is Sam totally in the wrong about Drew, Drew’s actions, LW’s approach to the leave period, and the intensity of the of anger, resentment they are expressing to LW, but their decision to # 1 chew out a departing employee out during their notice period and # 2 put a “not eligible for re-hire” in that employee’s file due to company management’s decisions around how they managed his time after he put in his notice and #3 doing all this to an employee who has family still working at the company AND is going to a new role where he is going to be interacting with a bunch of people in this same industry, contact pool? Indicates he as a warped view of his power and zero consideration for how his actions could shoot him and his company in the foot in the long term.

        If I were LW I’d watch my back, buffer my reports from Sam and try to cultivate ties to my peers, Sam’s peers, basically everyone else in the company for when Sam decides he’s going to go off on me.

        (And also look for opportunities to align, share initiatives, business interests with other groups in the off chance they could get themselves and their entire work-group re-aligned to report to someone who is NOT Sam. It sometimes happens after one re-org that there’s another not long after because something that looked good on paper didn’t work out in reality.)

    2. Observer*

      Well, if you didn’t know before, you now know who Sam is. Watch your back and be very careful when it’s time for you to move on.


      This guy is very bad news. And I would not put it past him to try to poison any attempt at moving to a new job – and then fire you for trying.

  3. JustMyImagination*

    If it’s so important to Sam that Drew work his full two-weeks notice then the place to start is with HR who shortened his notice period for convenience. Drew cannot care more than the company does about the length of his notice.

    1. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

      Excellent point. If that one additional day is so vital, the solution is to do the full notice period, not take away approved PTO.

    2. Observer*

      If it’s so important to Sam that Drew work his full two-weeks notice then the place to start is with HR who shortened his notice period for convenience.

      If anyone needed evidence that the length of notice was never the issue, THIS is it.

    3. Full Banana Ensemble*

      Yep, that’s what I came here to say. If it’s that important, then HR should have to deal with the inconvenience of processing a paycheck for one day.

      For all we know, Drew might be entirely open to working an extra day past their given notice, to account for the vacation day, but HR already nixed that option because of the pay period.

      When I left my last job, I also had vacation planned, so my options were to give slightly less than 2 weeks notice (in which my last day would’ve been before I left for vacation), or come back and work a few extra days, even though it was kind of weird and probably annoyed HR. Both my boss and I agreed on the extra days – her because it meant I’d have more time to close things out, and me because it meant I got to keep my health insurance for an extra month, since my last day was the 6th instead of the 29th. :)

    1. Seal*

      +1 to this. My vile former boss threw tantrums when people gave notice, going so far as to loudly and publicly tell a few of them off. Ironically enough, that only drove more people out, albeit with as little notice as possible. When someone show you who they are, believe them!

  4. HonorBox*

    I think the key here is that Drew put in that PTO request in advance of the notice period. He didn’t turn in his two weeks and then request PTO. And even if he had, it is one day. Sam’s reaction shows much more about Sam than Drew taking that day and/or you allowing him to take that day.
    LW, I’d keep this sort of reaction in mind as you evaluate what it is like to work for and with Sam.

    1. Cyborg Llama Horde*

      I think it’s a little more complicated than that, because if I put in for two weeks of vacation a few weeks in advance, got it approved, and then submitted my notice the Friday before my vacation started, I feel like it would be reasonable for my employer to be kind of annoyed at me. To me it’s a combination of already being approved, and it being a small fraction of the overall notice period.

      But yeah, it’s one day. Let them take the day, particularly since HR doesn’t care enough about the full two weeks to run payroll for an extra person.

  5. Czhorat*

    Challenge for employers:

    Don’t take employment choices personally.

    It isn’t personal love that has your employee working for you, it isn’t (always) a slight that they want to leave. Work is a business agreement; your employee is working for you because you and they find it mutually beneficial. You get the fruits of their labor, they get a salary. At any point they can weigh their potential future with you against other opportunities and, if it no longer makes sense for them, move on.

    Sam is acting as if he’s the king to whom everyone has sworn an oath of fealty, or the family patriarch who expects the bonds of blood to reign supreme. That IS NOT WHAT WORK IS.

    The sooner everyone realizes it the sooner we can stop having this kind of conflict.

    1. Random Dice*

      The Sams of this world reverse their tune when it’s time for them to lay them off. “It’s just business” when they lay off workers, “you’re a traitor” when workers leave.

      It’s so emotional and illogical.

      1. ferrina*

        Yeah, this is an entitlement issue from Sam. He feels entitled to undying loyalty from his employees- but he is not obligated to provide that to them because *waves hand vaguely*

        It’s always a bad sign when someone equates an inconvenience (i.e., regular business turnover) with betrayal.

    2. juliebulie*

      I have been laid off, let go, fired, RIF’d, downsized, and redundant so many times in my career that the thought of being “loyal” to an employer is laughable.

      Even if they treat you like gold when you work there, and you have the greatest boss in the world who loves you, and they gave you a “People Make the Difference” sweatshirt, the company will not hesitate to rid itself of you if they feel it necessary.

      1. not nice, don't care*

        Word. And same.
        I worked one place that did a huge layoff, met with the survivors to promise no new layoffs, then laid off more people, including one person with a new baby who had just obligated themselves to a mortgage based on that promise. They found out about the layoff because their vacation payout showed up before the layoff notice did.

        1. NotSarah*

          Ouch. I hope this story has a happy ending or some silver linings. The great thing about getting laid off with a baby is you almost always qualify for WIC (which is awesome in our state) and then you have some time to think about career and family goals. At least, that was my experience. It was hard to navigate at first, but ultimately I stayed home for 5 years.

          Yes…an employer wouldn’t hesitate to cut the strings when it’s their best interest and employees can certainly do the same.

  6. Chad H.*

    Sam is confused as to whom is acting with maturity and whom isn’t. I’ve never heard of anyone cancelling PTO for a resigning employee, and not doing so would mean having to pay out those days, so as long as there’s no impact on transition, it would be against the businesses interest to do so.

    1. HonorBox*

      It would be one thing if Drew had a week of PTO already approved. That might lead to some negotiation with him since it could be challenging for others to make the transition. But it is a day, and a day that was approved well in advance of him turning in notice.

      1. Czhorat*

        If I had an entire week of PTO scheduled around my notice period I’d consider offering to work an extra week to allow a smooth transition.

        If it’s a day that shouldn’t be an issue for most positions; notice is all about transition of work to others and knowledge downloads. For all but the most complex positions this should be doable in eight business days.

        Ironically, Sam is potentially sabotaging this by giving Drew a lecture. The glorious thing about resigning is that the employer now has very little leverage over you; Drew could simply walk earlier (which would be an extreme reaction) or simply refuse to do anything extra. That last emailed update after the last official day? Forget that. Answeing a quick question the week after leaving because something was missed in the handoff? Not with that attitude.

        All he’d be losing is a reference from someone who clearly doesn’t like him already and a chance to go back to a place he chose to leave. Sam isn’t just wrong, he’s doing his job poorly.

        1. HonorBox*

          Agree 100% with your first sentence. And you said it better than I intended.

          Sam has done nothing but show how much he doesn’t understand how the world actually works.

        2. MigraineMonth*

          He’s not even losing that; my understanding is that Sam has *already* told HR that Drew isn’t eligible for rehire (because he was unprofessional).

        3. Hannah Lee*

          Plus if that one missing day was SUCH an issue, then HR wouldn’t have asked Drew to cut a day off his notice period to make their lives easier.

  7. Blue*

    This was a small detail but seems significant: LW, if you have any power/influence over whether Drew is marked eligible for rehire, I hope you will go to bat for them hard. It is worth using capital over (especially because your other reports will definitely take notice either way). It is absolutely unreasonable that Drew’s reference at this company would be tarnished due to this petty nonsense — I’m especially imagining a scenario of an HR background check where all they are going to get is dates of employ and eligibility for rehire. Just. Yikes.

    1. Sloanicota*

      I’d be pretty surprised if I worked out a mutually agreeable transition plan with my manager, and then discovered I’d been marked ineligible for rehire. That’s crappy.

    2. Random Dice*

      Agree. HR very much wants to know that they’re being opened up to a lawsuit by a petty dictator manager.

      1. Kevin Sours*

        Not all terrible behavior is grounds for a lawsuit. What claims do you think Drew would have here?

    3. Observer*

      LW, if you have any power/influence over whether Drew is marked eligible for rehire, I hope you will go to bat for them hard. It is worth using capital over (especially because your other reports will definitely take notice either way).

      Agree 100%

      He did everything right and by the book. And clearly HR doesn’t think that this is too disruptive as they are willing to pay for a day that he’s not working, and the inconvenience of dealing with the payroll is a bigger issue that his not working.

      I wonder if Sam already tried to get him marked as ineligible and HR said “Nope”. That would explain why he’s complaining “everyone in the company” lacks maturity.

  8. animaniactoo*

    I’m getting employee quit because she couldn’t get time off for her graduation vibes from Sam.

    LW, you are fine.

    1. Caliente Papillon*

      Ha ha yes, totally thought of that.
      What is wrong with people- I just found out a temp worker who has been assisting me since May or so of last year got called back to a job she wants and will be leaving next week. Was my first thought to harangue her? Take her down several notches? Of course not, I congratulated her on getting back to doing her thing. And while she was good, I realize I can take the opportunity and experience with her to possibly find someone great.

  9. lyonite*

    I agree with everything here–good for you OP, to focus more on practicality and maintaining relationships than petty scorekeeping. One thing I would add is to make sure your other reports know you don’t share Sam’s attitude. I had a former grandboss who reacted in a very similar way to a valued colleague leaving–calling it betrayal, refusing to come to her goodbye lunch–and it really soured me on that working relationship, because it made me feel like we all only had value while we served her interests.

  10. Jennifer Strange*

    Tangentially related, but I wonder if the LW’s company pays out unused PTO when a person leaves. If they really want to tamp down on folks taking time off during their transition period that’s the good way to do it. If they don’t, then I would absolutely want to use it before I lost it.

    1. Texan in exile on her phone*

      My former employer did not pay out unused PTO and you couldn’t take it during your notice period, which is why I took a two-week vacation and then quit.

  11. animaniactoo*

    Also – LW, one thing you CAN do if Sam reaches out to Drew is to meet with Drew afterwards and be specifically clear that Sam is above you, but you do not agree with his assessment of Drew’s professionalism and do not have an issue with the PTO *or* his choice to leave and that you wish him well.

    1. MigraineMonth*

      Also offer to be a reference, if you can be. Be prepared to explain that “ineligible for rehire” was the action of one unreasonable manager, not a reflection on Drew’s professionalism.

    2. Forrest Rhodes*

      Agree with both animaniactoo and MigraineMonth. One question (since this is an old letter): Would it have been appropriate for LW to have that conversation preemptively with Drew, instead of waiting until after Sam accosted Drew?

      If I were LW, I’d be concerned that if I waited until after the Sam-Drew conversation, Drew might get away without my being able to have the “Sam’s way off base” talk.

        1. Forrest Rhodes*

          My bad, it’s a current letter. Trying to read AAM too quickly. Sorry!
          But my question stands: should/could LW speak with Drew before Sam does?

  12. EvilQueenRegina*

    Sounds a bit like something my ex-boss tried to pull on a resigning employee. “Michelle” was a part time worker who did Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, she had a three year old son with a long term medical condition, and the son had a specialist appointment booked for one Friday (the location of this specialist was somewhere that would have required taking the whole day off to get there and back).

    There were layoffs going on at the time, Michelle secured an internal transfer to another department, and the date of the appointment ended up falling within her month’s notice period (this was in the UK). “Jenny”, our manager, then decided that as this Friday was in her notice period, Michelle could no longer have leave and would have to either cancel that day, or work one of her non-working days to make up for it.

    “James”, second in command, said “Jenny, you can’t do that!” Michelle went to HR, and I think her union, and got the response that the date could only be rescinded if there was a genuine business need to do so. In this case, there wasn’t – there would be enough people in on that day to manage, and transition of work wasn’t an issue (3.5 full time equivalents were being reduced to 2 in that round of layoffs, the 2 were employees who’d been there for years, and that particular job was something that didn’t have long ongoing projects that she’d need to transition anyway). Jenny then backed down.

    1. Database Developer Dude*

      And Jenny knew that Michelle was using this day to get her son to his doctor? That’s unconscionable, trying to force an employee to choose between the job and a child’s well-being….

  13. I should really pick a name*

    I’d suggest letting Drew know that they can contact you directly as reference instead of going through the company.

    1. Zelda*

      Company policy permitting. My current company has a “thou shalt not speak to other employers; all reference requests go only to HR, Or Else” policy on the books.

      1. Observer*

        In which case, OP should let them know on a non-company message platform (even if that is a personal phone).

        1. Zelda*

          If OP is willing to take that risk. The policy I mention is “you may not address requests for references in any way whatsoever other than referring to HR,” not “you may not address requests for references on company phone lines/email addresses,” and doing so on the QT might still get OP in hot water.

          Or not; as Lisa mentioned below, these policies are not always enforced vigorously (and IMHO they’re a terrible idea). OP might well decide that doing right by Drew is entirely worth the level of risk that exists at their company.

          1. Observer*

            as Lisa mentioned below, these policies are not always enforced vigorously (and IMHO they’re a terrible idea). OP might well decide that doing right by Drew is entirely worth the level of risk that exists at their company.

            They are also often unenforceable. Because most often, if you make sure to do the reference on your own phone / personal email, your employer just won’t know.

      2. Lisa*

        My company technically has that same policy but everyone ignores it, at least at the individual contributor level, and most managers too if it’s a former employee.

  14. Sara without an H*

    Hello, LW — I agree with everything you said in your letter and with Alison’s response.

    All I have to add is: don’t trust Sam. Document this episode and anything else he says or does that is at all dodgy. If you have an opportunity to transfer out from under him, take advantage of it.

  15. DisneyChannelThis*

    Be prepared for Drew to just quit when Sam starts in on him. That’s been advice given here even, that if your boss(es) behave badly during your notice period you can just make your last day immediate.

  16. Lilo*

    Unless there’s a contract, notice is a courtesy, not a requirement. If your bosses go scorched earth on anyone who leaves anyway, your employees have no incentive to provide a notice period whatsoever, which ultimately will hurt your organization.

  17. Dr. Prepper.*

    Most, if not all, of the companies I have worked for in the past absolutely forbade any PTO taken by the employee during their notice period, regardless if it had been properly scheduled and manager-approved in advance. This was not punitive or a power play – it was strictly financial in that in every state I worked there was no mandatory accrued vacation days payout law. So if the employee was ignorant of the policy and either rage quit, quit with inadequate notice (usually 2 weeks was listed,) or gave notice without taking all their PTO prior to the notice period, they were screwed out of their rightfully accrued compensation. Some employees would get “sick” when they found this out, but the rumors were that they had to threaten lawsuits over their pay, as it would usually be withheld citing the policy as justification. It was never revealed how those disputes turned out.

    1. Dulcinea47*

      making sure people don’t get paid for their vacation time sure sounds punitive to me. It’s not retaliation, it’s just punishment for not knowing how to game the system.

    2. CommanderBanana*

      This does bring up a good point – make sure you know what your organization’s policies re: paying out PTO or other policies when you leave, and ask for clarification if you’re not sure. That’s how I found out that we weren’t vested at 5 years at my last organization even though it said we were in the employee handbook. It was actually 30 days after the first of the month that you were hired + five years.

      1. Ama*

        Also, if you are in the US, know if your state has a law on paying out vacation and if there are any specific eligibility criteria. Your employer cannot have a vacation payout policy in violation of your state’s law — it can be more generous than your state’s law but not more restrictive.

  18. Capt. Liam Shaw*

    Before I worked the job I am now. It is was pretty standard thad PTO could not be taken during the notice period, even if it was already approved. Missing time during the notice period would be also grounds for being placed on the do not rehire list.

    Industry before was bank operations, with coverage times for context.

  19. SMH*

    I’ve never understand this impulse. Drew already has another job. He would just quit and not come in on Friday! What is Sam going to do? Send him a nasty letter?

    1. NotRealAnonForThis*

      I stumbled across some communication between myself and my most current job while doing a clean up recently….I had made sure that if things went south at OldJob and my notice period was shortened (by that employer or their actions) that I could adjust my start date to sooner. Looks like I was preparing for the possibility of this type of situation. I had a fantastic direct line manager, and great-grand-boss…but the grand-boss in the middle? He sucked. He sounds like this Sam. Petty and nasty.

    2. Lilo*

      Exactly, if Sam’s already this hostile, Drew has no incentive to play nice and try to keep the former employer happy.

  20. Jester*

    I had a coworker give a month’s notice because he had a vacation already on the books. He thought he was being helpful by working around the already planned PTO. The powers that be said he wasn’t allowed to take any PTO during a notice period, so…he quit on the spot. He left the meeting with HR, and walked out the front door. That company paid out all PTO anyway, so it wasn’t like they were losing money.

  21. Falling Diphthong*

    Hypothetical conversations playing out in Sam’s head: “Drew is deeply ashamed of his betrayal of me! Drew openly admits that by taking his long-planned single day off he has torched his reputation at this company, and actually throughout the industry! My feeling of grievance must be logical and well-supported, or I wouldn’t have that feeling! Everyone will see that!”

    Hypothetical playing out in observers’ heads: “If you rescind the day off, Drew is going to quit effective immediately. And think ‘good riddance’ on his way out the door.”

  22. Michelle Smith*

    I agree with the advice, but is there not more LW can or should do? Should they have a conversation with their boss about why this is not a great response to a departing employee? Should they give the departing employee a heads up that this call is coming and that they disagree with what the boss is going to say? Do they have any standing to speak to HR about not designating the departing employee as ineligible for rehire?

    I guess I’m just wondering what the best next step is for the LW in this situation.

    1. Sloanicota*

      I agree that if OP wanted to go to bat on the “eligible for rehire” thing, they could do so, if this was a valuable employee and you approved of their transition plan. Someone else’s opinion shouldn’t outrank yours on that.

    2. Jules the 3rd*

      It depends on OP’s employer’s actual HR policies.

      If the policies are “No PTO during a notice period, and missing days during a notice period makes you ineligible for rehire” (which some commenters have mentioned having in prior jobs), then OP’s only actions are to educate the team and make sure they know about those policies. And then OP updates their resume and gets out of the beehive, though maybe this is a ‘common in some industries’ thing.

      If this is not company policy, OP can talk to HR about the ineligibility. OP could educate Sam about actual company policies, but it seems like that would be risky.

    3. el l*

      “Sam, you wanted to talk to Drew? Ask you not to. There is nothing to be gained by doing this, and the chances of this backfiring are huge. Trust me on this.”

      And I’d start looking for another boss.

  23. Sloanicota*

    If there’s no business reason you need the full two weeks, and it sounds like there is not, what is the point of playing hardball here? This just sounds like the usual “kids these days” type rhetoric to me.

    1. Ashley*

      As long as Drew isn’t part of a protected class or they are only pulling these moves of people in a protected class I tend to agree. And in smaller industries it is fairly common to talk to people who used to work there and this isn’t going to be much of an endorsement.

  24. Marzipan Shepherdess*

    Well, Sam is right about ONE thing; SOMEONE at that company lacks maturity and professionalism – and it’s him!

    As Alison as often pointed out – and as the OP fully recognizes – employees have the right to leave one company for better opportunities elsewhere, and this is not a matter of personal betrayal (however much selfish employers try to gaslight their employees into thinking it is!) Drew is making a sound decision for himself and his family, and it would actually be in SAM’S best interest not to burn bridges with someone who will still be in the same field. Unfortunately, Sam lacks the maturity and professionalism (not to mention common sense!) to recognize this; his response to Drew’s leaving – spitefully trying to deprive him of a previously-approved PTO day, calling him a “traitor” and generally throwing a verbal tantrum about everyone else in the office – is all you need to know about him!

  25. kiki*

    I always wonder about people like Sam and how these ideas got put in their head. Did they have really bad, dictatorial bosses that informed their view of professionalism? Did they misread something once? Do they just like to call anything they don’t like immature and unprofessional?

    1. Evil Queen of Dysfunction*

      I think a big part of this is control issues. But also, as we see time and time again, companies expect loyalty, but do not give it.

    2. Zelda*

      My hunch is that the last one is the most common. Just like the word “rude” now seems to mean “not doing what I want.”

    3. CommanderBanana*

      Control issues, lack of self-awareness, and possibly other mental health stuff at play. I’ve had bosses that made completely bananas decisions that were bad for them and bad for the org but the decisions were coming from a place of out-of-control anxiety and spitefulness.

    4. Falling Diphthong*

      I think part of it is that humans are good at noticing our feelings, and then back-filling in reasons that those feelings must be logical. So if you feel deeply betrayed, it must be because you are deeply betrayed. “… or maybe I’m just super petty” isn’t an alternative explanation most people spend a lot of time on. (At least, not if they start with public meltdown.)

      1. RVA Cat*

        That moment of self-awareness is why I love the punchline of a certain Key & Peele skit (work related but seriously NSFW): “maybe I’m just an a-hole.”

      2. Random Dice*

        Yeah, unraveling our own brains’ tendency to confabulate requires a good bit more self-reflection than most people have, and a good bit more mental health support than even decent benefits allow.

    5. Jules the 3rd*

      Looking at the comments, it seems like there are companies where Sam would be correct and in line with company policies. OP’s quote that “everyone at this company ‘lacks maturity’ ” (from Sam) implies that Sam may have worked at one of those places in the past and doesn’t understand his current employers’ culture.

      It does actually make sense in coverage situations, like bank teller or retail. But since Dave is going to consulting, I doubt his role is one that needs coverage.

  26. Phony Genius*

    If two weeks notice is standard, how does that work if there is a holiday during the two weeks? Do you go by 10 business days, or just count two calendar weeks? I would treat a single day the same way a holiday would be treated.

    1. Sparkle llama*

      Our manual requires (to be eligible for rehire) nonexempt employees to give 10 working days of notice so it would be two weeks and a day if there was a holiday. Exempt employees have to give 30 calendar days so it is not impacted by holidays.

      1. Database Developer Dude*

        30 calendar days?????? And how much time is an employee given if they’re to be laid off or fired???

  27. Abogado Avocado*

    There’s been a lot of deserved criticism of Sam here — too bad he won’t get to read it — so I just want to join in with those who have been patting LW on the back. You are a good manager, LW, and someone I’d want to work for and learn from. May you be the change that makes the working world better!

  28. Chocoholic*

    What would Sam have done if there was a holiday during the notice period? Make Drew work the holiday? Sometimes inconvenient things happen. Get over it, Sam!

  29. Dr. Disney*

    Only tangentially related, but this letter reminded me of when I gave two months notice at a job (they required one month as part of the contract, and I was trying to be upfront as they were considering me for another role and I knew I wasn’t staying), and got in a bad car accident with my husband about 2 weeks after. I tried to use my last 2 days of PTO (which would not have been paid out anyways), in order to take my husband to his appointments and to tend to my own, and my supervisor tried to deny this, saying I wasn’t allowed to use PTO in my notice period. All I learned from that was that I really didn’t matter to my organization, and that I don’t need to be generous with my notice

  30. CommanderBanana*

    Sam also needs to remind him/herself that other employees are watching how they’re treating Drew during his notice period. I just had a coworker leave for a new job and our boss treated her horribly during her notice period, and believe me, other people noticed it and his reputation has taken a hit.

  31. Katy*

    I think a lot of employers in the States forget that 2 weeks notice is a courtesy, not a mandatory period of time. If you can fire someone or lay them off with no notice they do not owe you 2 weeks and anyone who gives it is doing them a favor.

    Honor his time off so you get the rest of his time, otherwise be prepared to have him walk off.

    1. Dr. Prepper.*

      It may be a courtesy, but many if not most companies have policies in their employee manuals that you must give two weeks notice or else lose accrued vacation pay and get a “do not rehire” status when prospective employers call. So the rage quit may be satisfying in the moment, it has short and long term financial consequences if not thought out carefully.

      1. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

        If an employer is spiteful enough to cancel somone’s holiday or otherwise break the social contract of employment then they’d probably give a bad reference for anyone who resigns – and who wants to be rehired at Spite Central.

      2. Michelle Smith*

        Not everyone gets paid out for their unused vacation anyway and the “not eligible for rehire” status can be avoided by either explaining the situation upfront to a prospective employer, not using them as a reference, or being selective about said reference (for example, using the sympathetic LW instead of a generic HR contact). But this person literally already has a new job and the chances of it getting pulled because his previous employer is sad they’re leaving and won’t take him back is pretty much zero. There are no real short or long term financial consequences if this person walked out without serving out their notice period and suggesting otherwise sounds a bit like the threats that a disciplinary issue in high school would go on a kid’s “permanent record” (i.e., it has no teeth).

        1. jane's nemesis*

          I got marked “not eligible for rehire” at my last job because I gave only THREE weeks notice instead of the FOUR they “required.” I was like, fine? I’m leaving bc y’all SUCK?

          I only gave three because I had just hired someone and she was starting the day I gave notice and I was trying to be there for more of her onboarding (bc I felt terrible I had hired her into a hornet’s nest full of bees and then was leaving).

      3. Observer*

        but many if not most companies have policies in their employee manuals that you must give two weeks notice or else lose accrued vacation pay and get a “do not rehire” status when prospective employers call.

        The vacation payout is common, but the ineligible for re-hire is a LOT less common.

        And even in companies that have these policies, Sam’s reaction is totally ridiculous. “Betrayal”? “Immaturity?” What on earth?

      4. Katy*

        A lot of companies are now prorating or refusing to pay out vacation time, if they even offer it.

        Being placed on a “do not rehire” list is only a threat to people who might be returning. If I’m leaving you I’m not planning on coming back, if I wanted to work for you I would have stayed. If I’m not giving you 2 weeks is because your company is such hell that I can’t do 2 more weeks.

        Same for the references. If you’re doing something that is making me want to get out immediately I’m not going to be trusting you for a reference.

        1. Dr. Prepper.*

          Actually a “Do Not Rehire” or “Will not Rehire” is the HR euphemism for “bad employee” and resulted from the lawsuits that resulted from the companies giving bad references and the employees winning those lawsuits with damages. So no company will give a bad reference now and frequently instructs their execs not to say anything negative either. Unfortunately, aside from not listing the company at all, the HR department SOP is to call the listed employers HR and inquire specifically about rehire status, as that’s all they will say now. So listing the LW as a reference does no good because they will ultimately have to reveal their company affiliation.

          And for high level jobs, many companies WILL check multiple prior employers so a Do Not Rehire may affect you for future jobs.

    2. Zona the Great*

      I honestly think the pendulum is swinging toward a culture shift in this area. 2 weeks may have been a courtesy to an employer who provided things like pensions, livable wages, work-life balance, etc. but now I think so many people feel this is unfair (you don’t’ get 2 weeks when you get fired) that companies will soon have to stop penalizing a lack of 2 weeks notice.

  32. tms70*

    I had a job where it really took about a year for new employees to be trained, learn our applications, and gain the confidence to be considered a fruitful employee. This is pretty much laid out in an interview so the expectation is that hopefully you would stay a few years to see our training “investment” pay off. We hired a young woman who after 9 months resigned because she was going to grad school. When our director was told she was pissed. She presumed that this young woman knew all along she was going to grad school and used this job as a means to collect a paycheck. Not a wrong presumption, but so what? People have to earn a living. She literally said to the woman’s sup, tell her to come to my office, I am going to make her cry. Seriously?? Get over yourself. Just because you drank the company kool aid doesn’t mean every new employee is going to adopt that same level of loyalty. Fortunately she retired not long after.

    1. Observer*

      She literally said to the woman’s sup, tell her to come to my office, I am going to make her cry.

      That is beyond messed up. How does someone get away with that?

      Also, I suspect that the place was toxic. So much so that I would not be surprised if the job is what pushed this young woman into making the jump to Grad School. Because it’s a really “acceptable” (socially and professionally speaking) for leaving a bad job that does not require anyone to “bad mouth” the company.

  33. AnonInCanada*

    Sam must surely be a treat to have to work for. /s

    The only thing Drew would do if this PTO request were pulled out from under him is he would stop showing up for work during the notice period. What are they going to do, fire him?

  34. EmmaPoet*

    Sam needs to take about fifty chill pills. “Traitor?” Really? This level of drama would embarrass a middle-schooler.

  35. Construction Safety*

    I got let go during my notice period. They paid me out, but didn’t pay out unused vacay days.

    The next guy to quit? He came back from 10 days off & said “Today’s my last day.”

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      Fiendish! Employees noticing how you treat those who give notice, and adjusting their own plans accordingly.

    2. Random Dice*

      I thought it was illegal not to pay out PTO (vacation not sick). Is that just California? I’m not there, but in a blue US-American state, and my husband got paid his unused PTO in a chunk when he left.

      1. Texan in exile on her phone*

        Varies by state and Wisconsin does not require it. Which is why I also quit *after* taking my vacation.

      2. Michelle Smith*

        Very much a California specific law. There is no federal law guaranteeing PTO in the first place, let alone that you be compensated for it.

        1. Kevin Sours*

          Note that California doesn’t guarantee it either. They just consider it earned wages once it accrues. Hence the recent popularity of “unlimited” PTO that doesn’t actually accrue anything.

  36. Observer*

    that everyone at this company “lacks maturity” and Sam is going to talk to Drew about professionalism next week because they need to know “how things are done.”


    The one who is “lacking maturity” is Sam. As far as “how tings are done”, I don’t think that he gets that either.

    I hope he cc’d his boss or HR, so that someone else is aware that’s a bit of a loose cannon.

  37. NothappyinNY*

    This. If employers pull stunts like this, employees will learn how to deal with it, and it may result in harder transitions for remaining people.

  38. learnedthehardway*

    Sam’s an idiot and a bad manager. And he’s going to do damage to the company, because Drew is (quite reasonably) going to tell all his friends and contacts about the ridiculous reaction his former 2nd line manager had to his resignation, and everyone is going to take Drew’s side and think that the company management has a screw loose.

    1. learnedthehardway*

      ETA – the OP should condense their letter and email it to Sam to point out the reasons why his reaction is NOT a good idea to follow through on. CC HR.

  39. Pyjamas*

    HR is also truncating the notice bc they don’t want to process a check for one extra day. Why doesn’t Sam go talk to them about their lack of maturity? (I’d like to be a fly on the wall for that.). I hope OP makes it clear that Sam’s tirade doesn’t reflect the views of OP, the team, or (hopefully) the company

    1. NotARealManager*

      Disagree. I run payroll and it can be a huge hassle and/or cost to run an off-cycle payroll for one person. It also opens you up to errors or questions on their final paycheck which is something you don’t want. Drew is still getting paid the whole notice period, he’s just getting the last payment earlier than he would have. That part is a win-win for everyone.

      1. NotARealManager*

        @pyjamas, re-reading your comment I realize we may actually be on the same page? Apologies if that’s the case.

    2. Nemo*

      I mean, Sam WAS raging that the entire company lacks maturity, so it’s fully possible that he’s thinking of HR too and wishes they’d wield payroll more aggressively to bilk employees and save oh so many pennies…

  40. Just My Two Cents*

    If the company didn’t allow the employee to take his PTO, most likely the company would have to pay out his unused vacation day on tip of his salary for working that day. Seems like it’s financially better to let him take his pre-approved day.

    1. Just My Two Cents*

      Replying to myself because I see from other comments above that not everywhere has to pay out unused PTO

  41. Reality.Bites*

    I can’t foresee an outcome where cancelling Drew’s PTO wouldn’t lead to his immediate and completely legal departure.

  42. RVA Cat*

    Also note that Sam’s petty retaliation will likely make Drew’s partner also leave the company.

    Sounds like the only industry reputation getting trashed will be Sam’s.

  43. quercus*

    One thing OP might try is to ask Sam not to screw them(OP) over like that. Hopefully putting Sam into “huh?” mode long enough to explain that Drew might leave on the spot if yelled at, and then OP would have even less transition time.

  44. Jane Bingley*

    LW, you have excellent instincts. But I want you to keep them front and center as a new manager, and watch Sam carefully for lessons in what not to do. There’s an inherent risk in being a new manager under a bad manager. Maybe he’s got good judgment when his employees aren’t “betraying” him, but this is such bad judgment that it’s hard for me to believe he’s otherwise great. It’s easy to copy what you see when you’re not sure what to do, but your instincts are far better here than his.

  45. Fluffy Fish*

    Some people are just a-holes.

    We had an employee who was by all accounts good at their job. They moved on (largely due to a bad boss) and because of their start date gave 1 day less than a 2 weeks notice.

    Technically it’s in the personnel rules that you have to give 2 weeks but it’s at manager discretion. She was docked a days leave and marked ineligible for rehire.

    For no reason other than people being a-holes.

  46. Jules the 3rd*

    One thing I think Alison missed: While these are bad policies, they do exist in some companies. Sam’s statement “everyone at this company ‘lacks maturity’ ” seems to indicate that the current company doesn’t have this policy, Sam’s come to this one from a company that had such a policy, and Sam has not made the mental shift to OP’s employer’s company culture.

    What this actually means for OP (only IF I’m correct):
    1. OP can go to HR and get the ineligible flag removed, probably pretty easily.
    2. OP can talk to someone (HR or mgmt line) about Sam’s error re: company policy, explaining how OP appreciates the policy and why it’s in place, but how OP is concerned about a manager going against company policy.

    Depends on how well OP’s company protects against retaliation / OP’s relationship with mgmt line, and what the company’s actual policies are.

    Good luck OP! And congrats on the new job, Dave.

  47. Festively Dressed Earl*

    LW should talk to Drew about what prompted them to look elsewhere. Managers like Sam either create toxic environments or thrive in them. I suspect that Drew won’t be the only one to jump ship, especially if Sam’s attitude becomes public knowledge and goes unchallenged.

    I’m also concerned about the fact that Drew’s partner and friends still work for LW’s company. Does LW have any means of shielding those people from retaliation?

  48. merida*

    Interestingly, I’ve worked at multiple companies where the handbook states that absolutely no PTO (included previously approved PTO) can be taken during a notice period, that each day of the period must be worked. I think it’s ridiculous for all the same reasons mentioned here, but I don’t think that attitude is uncommon… unfortunately. Sam appears to be on a power trip and grasping at straws.

    1. Kevin Sours*

      The correct response to that policy is to give your two weeks notice retroactively after you have taken your previously approved PTO.

    1. Jam Today*

      A former colleague of mine did that, she gave her two weeks notice and three days into it her boss badmouthed her on a leadership call, so she packed up her stuff and walked out. I was so jealous. I’ve always dreamed of doing something like that.

  49. nonprofit llama groomer*

    Sam is not a good manager.

    My organization does not let employees take leave (new leave) after giving their notice or they don’t get paid out for their accumulated PTO days. Generally employees take this into account when giving their notice or, if they didn’t read the company policy (easily available on our intranet/HR Teams channel), they are gently reminded when they give notice, if they request leave. I can’t even imagine our organization not taking into account an emergency. And it is still the employee’s choice. If they choose to give shorter notice, they give up getting paid for their accumulated PTO.

    The required notice period is reasonable to allow for transition: 2 weeks for non-professional staff and 4 weeks for professional staff.

  50. Mmm.*

    I doubt Sam realizes that (99% of the time) notice is a *courtesy,* not an *obligation.* Drew could’ve just peaced.

  51. Snow Village*

    Is this regional? In my area your banked PTO is always used up at the end, so people who announce they’re quitting one day might just leave the next day, never come back and receive a paycheck for the entire following month (or for however much PTO they had banked).
    It’s impolite of course and most people don’t, choosing instead to give enough notice that they’ll have enough time to transfer over their work before their banked PTO kicks in, but I wonder if this isn’t the case everywhere. (I’ve worked in four different industries and this has consistently been the case in all of them.)

  52. T.*

    I’ve always been told no new requests for PTO after you give notice but usually long approved PTO stands as accepted. I also have seen people give an extra couple days notice to account for pre approved PTO. Then again, I had a really bitchy boss who fired someone who got Covid during the end of their notice because they “lied”.

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