Perhaps it is because I just got back from a lovely vacation in Turkey, that I am thinking of how important vacations are for employees to recharge. I mean, who wouldn't be relaxed after spending a week here (this is actually the view from the villa where I stayed):
Now that vacation season is here, it is a good time to think about how scheduled vacations are going to impact employees' requests for leave due to a medical condition. The ADA and local discrimination laws generally provide that an employer must only make a reasonable accommodation where doing so does not cause an undue hardship to the employer. What is an undue hardship is the cause of much debate, but one factor considered is the ease and/or cost of covering for the employee on leave.
I have had problems with clients where vacation requests must be made several months in advance for traditional busy seasons for the employer. In those cases, managers have, without thoroughly examining the issues, denied an employees' medical leave request because there either was not enough advance notice or there were already three employees on the shift out at the same time.
This can be a tricky issue because it is often difficult, if not impossible, to tell employees who have already been approved for vacation months in advance and booked and paid for their travel that their vacation has been revoked. This is another reason why managers must be trained on how to handle requests for leave and should be coordinating those requests through Human Resources or legal counsel.
In the meantime, I will be dreaming of my next vacation.