Can my federal employer deny my annual leave?

Asked over 1 year ago - Dayton, OH

I am a federal employee (with 20 years in the system) and had to file a grievance against my employer. Although I believe my complaint was ultimately ruled to be without merit, I have been experiencing retaliation. I have been demoted, placed on a performance plan for over a year and denied annual leave.

What can be done to assure that I get my leave? I have over 100 hours that I will lose at the beginning of the year and have only taken 4 days the entire year.

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Ronald Lee Burdge


    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . You need to talk to a local Employment Law attorney near you, like Lori Ann Strobl in Dayton. You can also look for one here on under the Find a Lawyer tab. Or you can call the Dayton Bar Association and ask for a referral to an Employment Law attorney near you. If this answer was helpful, please give a “Vote UP” review below. And be sure to indicate the best answer to your question so we can all be sure we are being helpful. Thanks for asking and Good Luck. Ron Burdge,

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  2. Marilynn Mika Spencer

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . If you are represented by a federal sector union, your first and best recourse is through the union. Be politely persistent, and understand that many union representatives do all, most or a lot of their union work on their own time.

    Otherwise, you should take this issue to your human resources office (HRO). If you provide enough notice to your activity that you want to use the leave and there are no operational reasons to reject the request, you are effectively being denied a benefit of employment. Note that while it may be able to resolve the issue, HRO is there for the benefit of the agency, not the employees. Be careful with what you discuss with HRO, and be sure to document everything.

    Depending on the nature of your grievance, you may be experiencing retaliation for protected activity. Please see my Avvo guide to the EEO complaint process for federal government employees: You may also have recourse under the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB). Information and appeal forms are available on the MSPB website at

    *** All legal actions have time limits, called statutes of limitation. If you miss the deadline for filing your... more

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