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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 45291
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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At the end of last year I purchased a cruise sister

Customer Question

At the end of last year I purchased a cruise for my sister and her husband. She works as a dinner lady for three house per day. She gave her immediate boss notice of the date back in June and the cruise is in November so 5 months notice. I did not know at the time but her contract of work says she cannot take time off during school term but at the discretion of her immediate boss this can be overridden. The total number of hours my sister would be absent is 9, divided over the three days she would need off. The first answer her boss gave was no so my sister and her husband went over her head to seek permission. At the initial hearing, the higher employer agreed the person was being unreasonable and due to the notice given and the fact that other staff have been given permission for time off during school term, all seemed to b OK to get a yes answer. She has had her second hearing today and they have refused to give her the time off and if she does go she will be disciplined. I know her husband will not go without her so I stand to loose around £900.00. Do I have a case to take my sisters boss to the small claims court to claim back the money from her or do I take the employer to court. Any advice would be much appreciated as my sister is so upset and depressed at the moment, any good news would be appreciated
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello, my name is***** am a solicitor on this site and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Was the holiday ever approved or was it only an indication it may be at some point?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The holiday was not approved by her immediate boss, but after the initial meeting with the senior boss, it did seem that it would be given the response she gave that my sister had given nearly 4 to 5 months notice. My sister has a written letter from a fellow staff member clearly stating that she had been approved for leave several times during school term.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Ben are you working on this??
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello sorry I lost my connection.Thank you for your response. I will review the relevant information and will get back to you as soon as possible. Regards Ben.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
I am afraid that you will have absolutely no rights to take the employer to court. They are in no way answerable to you or have any legal liability towards you. There has never been any legal relationship between you two so a court will not hear a claim you make about them in these circumstances. The only person that can take any action is the person who is their employee. However, in these circumstances she does not really have a legal leg to stand on either. The law, specifically the Working Time Regulations 1998, give an employer an explicit right to refuse an employee’s request for holidays, as long a sufficient notice period is given. This period must be at least as long as the holiday to be taken. In this case it is 3 days’ holiday so they are only required to give her 3 days’ notice of their refusal before the holiday is due to be taken. There is no requirement of fairness ort reasonableness – it does not matter if an employee will miss out on a holiday or a pre-booked trip, it also does not matter if others have been granted holiday in similar circumstances. The law is unconditional, as long as the required notice is given. So the employer has not really done anything wrong legally here – this is really a moral argument but unfortunately the courts and the law does not deal with moral issues, they will only look at legal principles, which in this case have been satisfied. It does not look like any approval was ever given and whilst the employer at the meeting had indicated that approval is likely, that does not equal a formal approval and cannot be treated as such. It would not be from a legal point in any event.
This is an unfortunate situation and whilst hindsight will be of no use now, to be safe a booking should not have been made until you knew that the holiday had been approved by the employer, because until then you would have run the risk of that person not being able to take the time off.
She could consider raising an internal grievance but that is an internal matter and in the hands of the employer. She cannot take any legal action as the employer has not done anything wrong here. The only other thing is that she takes the time off anyway and risks the repercussions, which could include dismissal, so it is a risk she has to weigh up and decide if it is worth taking.
I'm sorry if this is not necessarily the answer you were hoping for, however I do have a duty to be honest and explain the law as it actually stands. This does mean delivering bad news from time to time. I hope you understand and would be happy to provide any further clarification if needed. If you are still satisfied with the level of service you have received I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page. Thank you
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 45291
Experience: Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
Ben Jones and 3 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you Ben. I did think this would be the case but I cannot think that anyone could be so cruel and unreasonable. My sister is near breaking point all because of what was intended as a family gift. I've paid for my brother, his wife and myself, but it's put the whole trip in doubt as I cannot see any of us going and leaving her behind.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
I agree it is unreasonable and fully sympathise with your position but as mentioned this is a moral issue now rather than a legal one and legally the employer is able to do what they have done even if it appears cruel and unreasonable. I hope you find a way to reason with them in the end

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