Can an employer take away vacation time earned?

Asked over 5 years ago - Peoria, IL

I have worked for my current employer for 7 years. When I was hired in 2002, I was promised 3 weeks of vacation time and 5 additional paid days for personal / sick time after 5 years of employment. This was spelled out in our employee handbook. However, my first day of 2009 brought a sudden change to the employee handbook. All of a sudden I was told that after 5 years I would only be allowed 2 weeks of vacation time and 3 sick / personal days. This employer is not bound by union contracts. Can an employer legally change the employee handbook whenever he feels like it, specifically the paid time off promised at the time of employment? Is there anything I can do to reinstate the vacation time I worked so hard for? Please help!

Attorney answers (1)

  1. Bradley Louis Schencker

    Contributor Level 13

    Answered . In the state of Illinois you are considered an at will employee and as such the terms of employment and employment is always up to change. You need to review the handbook, employment contract (if any) and other terms of employment that may be spelled out in other forms.
    Unfortunately, in the small space provided for questions one is unable to get a full background of the story. In the situations such as you are explaining you should immediately seek the counsel of a capable attorney that practices in the area of family law or if you cannot afford an attorney, you should seek a social service organization in your area. This answer is general in nature and does not form an attorney client relationship. If you would like to get more information on this topic or to establish an attorney client relationship please contacts my office.

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