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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 117370
Experience:  20+ Years of Employment Law Experience
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I was a practice mgr in a physicians office with less than

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I was a practice mgr in a physicians office with less than 20 employees. When I was hired I had been self-employed & as part of my package I received 3 full weeks of vacation from the first year through the 4th and in yr 5 it was to be 4 weeks. There was a manual in place at the time that said employee vacation time accrued but as my package was outside of this it did not pertain to me. Now that that I have left (with 2 1/2 weeks notice) I have now been informed that I will not be paid unused vacation time because I didn't accure enough time in 3 1/2 mos of the year.
Now the Office Mgr I replaced was made to take a voluntary resignation and as such the Dr gave her 1 month severance pay; all unused vacation and unused sick time & kept her on the benefit plan for an extra month. All I asked for was the vacation time I had coming & was told no.
In the state of NY do I have any recourse to recoup this money?

LynnAnn Smallidge
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with your to provide you the information you are seeking.

The NY labor law states employers must “notify . . . employees in writing or by publicly posting the employer’s policy on sick leave, vacation, personal leave, holidays and hours.” See: N.Y. Labor Law § 195, 195(5).

In New York State, “An employee’s entitlement to receive payment for accrued, unused paid time off upon termination of employment is governed by the terms of the employer’s publicized policy.” Kolesnikow v. Hudson Valley Hosp. Ctr., 622 F. Supp.2d 98, 120 (S.D.N.Y. 2009). If your employer has no written policy on what an employee is entitled to upon termination of employment, then the courts would look to their pattern and practice and if they have paid employees in the past then you too would be entitled to that vacation time.

Unfortunately, while in most states you could file a complaint with the State Department of Labor, NY Department of Labor refuses to handle investigations of this type, which means if you want to obtain your money, which you have a legal right to based on your description above, you have to sue the employer for breach of contract and failure to pay wages (unused vacation is considered wages upon termination depending on the employer's policy to pay them as stated above).

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