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The promise your employer made after the fact was gratuitous and would not typically have created any legal obligation to pay for that time. The relevant question is what your contract or employee handbook
says. If either of these documents provides that vacation must be paid upon separation of employment, or if both are silent on the matter, then your employer must pay the vacation. (See Fridrich v. Seuffert Construction Co., 2006 Ohio 1076 (OH App. 2006) However, if either expressly provides that an employee is not entitled to their accrued vacation upon separation of employment, or condition such payment on terms you did not comply with, then you would not be entitled to payment.
If you believe you are entitled to your accrued vacation based on the foregoing principles, your recourse is to file a lawsuit (you cannot file a wage
claim to collect unpaid vacation in Ohio). If the amount is less than 3k, you can file in small claims court. Otherwise, you will need to file in general civil court, preferably with the assistance of a local attorney.
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