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Human Resources/Unscheduled PTO policy standards


I work for a large company in Illinois.  My employer gives me a lump of PTO time and then states within the PTO policy that only 4 days can be unscheduled (sick).  I have been put on corrective action for using more than 4 unscheduled days, but other colleagues in my company have surpassed the guideline and have no action taken against them. Nor are other colleagues even aware of the 4 day UPTO policy.  I feel my manager does this because she does not like me.  Can I sue my employer for being treated unfairly since others are not held to the same company policy?


I'm never sure why so many questions come to me about people wanting to sue their employer over something like being written up for using unscheduled PTO..    

Realistically, what exactly would you sue the employer for?   What would that look like in a court ?      $ 1,000,000  penalty for having a marginally enforceable  PTO policy with the penalty amount paid to you in  crisp new $100 bills ?   There is no damage here, no expenses, no law broken.....  If this was the case, 50% of all employers would be sued right now...

:#  # Smiley face#  I really don't think you have anything to sue them about at this time.

So, enough of the silliness on my part.....    If your manager doesn't like you and writes you up more than others,  that is something that happens in most workplaces.  Not everyone is best pals and sees eye to eye with their manager, family, or anyone else...  People sometimes don't get along and that is ok.   No law will protect you from being not liked by a manager.   As long as the manager's reason for writing you up is NOT  a result of obvious discrimination #that can be proven#   due to race, age, sex, gender, etc...  then you and your manager just need to make nice -- or you need to be extra nice to get off the manager's radar.    Remember  # your HR guy here) if your manager is just an asshole, this is not illegal.   period.

Next,  if you feel other employees have no awareness of the 4 unscheduled days component of the policy, then that is another issue.  Do the other managers not enforce this?   The company can't typically evenly enforce a policy if half the employees don't know about it......  or admit to know about it.

Next-  even if 100 percent of employees knew about the policy and it's interworkings, the employer and managers are ALWAYS  able to make exceptions to policy.  This is what being a manager is about- even for asshole managers.    Managers use policy as a tool to motivate and discipline employees.  Other times policy rewards employees or can be twisted to meet some other unintended result.   Some employees get more discipline via policy enforcement; some get less.     Remember,  policy and rules are meant for the exceptions; not the every day occurrence.      Plus, I'm sure other managers treat their particular employees differently than your manager treats you.  There is flexibility in this policy, as it should be.

For example,  assume your manager loved you and everyone in your department and you were all  BFF's  together and the BEST performers in the company;  and you and the others regularly took off time whenever you wanted and was never penalized...  you would not mind,  right ?   But other employees from other more "strict"  departments with asshole bosses may take the position you have now in they are being treated unfairly since Amy and her department gets away with missing time and no reports written up?    So, you see,  policy is not written in stone or blood.

So, I'm sorry, but my advise may not be helpful to you,  but it is as fair as I can be in the real world.   I'm telling you as I see it not knowing you or your manager or your company.    I also don't know the reasons for why you were out unexpectedly, but your manager feels they were good enough to take certain actions.    Whether it was right, or wrong, it is irrelevant.   Just move on from it and don't dwell on it.   

Companies have policy that may be outdated or not totally enforced, but often the "company" leaves enforcement of workplace policy to the management assuming no federally protected laws are broken.  In many companies, HR managers do not get in the way to squash or change decisions made by front line managers on their particular employees.  The managers should know their employees well enough to handle running their departments.  So going to HR about being written up would possibly end up with you being told something like,  "sorry, your manager will handle this".   In this case, explain to HR how nobody knows about the policy HR wrote-- this would be the right approach, but still managers still may not enforce it equally- and that is fine in my opinion.

So, my advice is to do your best to stay on the manager's good side and try not to miss any work unexpectedly.   If you do miss, be sure to call off with as much notice as possible.

I hope this helps...

Brian Phillips

Human Resources

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Brian Phillips


Foreign and US university students -*PLEASE*- DO NOT waste your time asking for my opinions, comments or analysis of your homework questions. Homework questions are not answered and are rejected. I am happy to help answer questions asked by employees and employers regarding United States based state and Federal wage and hour, OT, Fair labor standards, FMLA, COBRA, Recruiting, Interviewing techniques, employee manuals, discipline, terminations/quits, unemployment, HRIS rollout, Employee Leasing or Staffing company cost analysis, day to day scenarios, work situations and more. Essentially a well rounded HR generalist who operates Harvis, Inc., a human resource consulting and service business based in Northeastern Pennsylvania "NEPA".


At Harvis, Inc., we provide Human Resource products, services and advice to small businesses that may not have the time or resources to hire a full time HR department. For larger companies with HR managers in place, we compliment their expertise to help with time consuming or time sensitive projects like updating policy manuals, screening and interviewing and more. We make workplaces better by becoming that 1/2 person they need to help handle HR responsibilities on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Formerly responsible for all Human Resource activity for a staffing agency with 2,500 annual employees as well as an employee leasing / PEO business with 1,500 annual employees. Designed and implemented the HR structure to support hundreds of clients in excess of $ 500 million in payroll volume over career in Human Resources.

* President 2006- Harvis Inc. HR Services * President 2010-13 Business Association of the Greater Shickshinny Area - Shickshinny PA * President 2013- ShickshinnyForward Not for Profit Community Long Term Revitalization Organization and former member of varios Chambers of Commerce and HR Taskforce, former President of NBC Business Club 2 years

Bloomsburg University - 1993 BS Marketing, Bloomsburg Pennsylvania and Luzerne County Community College - 1991 Business Administration, Nanticoke Pennsylvania

Awards and Honors
* Better than average - 20/10 vision * Bestowed with an occasional "Thank You" from clients and their employees.

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