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Can my federal employer deny my annual leave?

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.

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Attorney answers 2


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 claim, you will lose the opportunity to pursue your case. Please consult with an experienced employment attorney as soon as possible to better preserve your rights. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer provides information on Avvo as a service to the public, primarily when general information may be of assistance. Avvo is not an appropriate forum for an in-depth response or a detailed analysis. These comments are for information only and should not be considered legal advice. Legal advice must pertain to specific, detailed facts. No attorney-client relationship is created based on this information exchange. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer is licensed to practice law before all state and federal courts in California, and can appear before administrative agencies throughout the country. She is eligible to represent clients in other states on a pro hac vice basis. ***

Ronald Lee Burdge

Ronald Lee Burdge


Great answer. Check out Marilynn's Avvo Legal Guide too. That can help you figure it out also.


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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