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Detail exact terms for paying out accrued but unused vacation and sick leave

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in Compensation and Benefits,HR Management,Human Resources

New York Labor Law requires employers to notify employees “in writing or by publicly posting the employer’s policy on sick leave, vacation, personal leave, holidays and hours.” If employers do so, then the written policy governs whether the employee is entitled to payment of unused leave on termination.

That’s a compelling reason to make it known to employees that if they quit without notice, they may not be entitled to cash out unused leave.

Recent case: Karidis was fired from her management job at Orange Regional Medical Center for alleged poor performance. She sued, alleging race discrimination. She also claimed the hospital illegally withheld payment for her accrued but unused vacation and sick leave.

The court tossed out the discrimination claim, concluding that the hospital successfully demonstrated that Karidis was fired for poor performance. She could not point to anyone outside her protected class with a similar performance record who had not faced termination.

The court then looked at the leave policy. The hospital was able to show that it had a written leave policy that laid out exactly who was entitled to a payout on termination. The written policy explicitly stated that an employee “terminated for reasons other than an economic layoff, retrenchment or a departmental reorganization or an employee who resigns without proper working notice automatically forfeits any accrued benefits.”

Karidis was therefore not entitled to a payout. (Tubo v. Orange Regional Medical Center, 2nd Cir., 2017)

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