Does strike time count as continuous service?

Two weeks' vacation after 1 yr on the job was the company's clearly stated policy. It was a generous entitlement.
By Raymond Dreyfack September 1, 1998

Two weeks’ vacation after 1 yr on the job was the company’s clearly stated policy. It was a generous entitlement.

The vacation sheets already had been processed and returned to employees when Maintenance Clerk Ellen Goshen appeared at her supervisor’s desk. In one hand was her vacation sheet. In the other was the open policy manual.

“What’s the problem, Ellen?” Maintenance Supervisor Ben Fisher asked.

“I’ve been short-changed on my vacation. It says here — “

“I know what it says. You lost out on the second week because you’re 5-wk short of the required time.”

“That’s a mistake. I checked my starting date. I’ve been employed here over 13 mo.”

“Employed, but not working,” Fisher replied. “Check the manual. It calls for a year’s continuous service. Your service was interrupted by a strike that lasted about 6 wk. That broke your continuity.”

“The strike has no bearing,” Ellen insisted. “I was available for work. It’s not my fault — “

“Sorry, Ellen, that’s the rule.”

“We’ll see about that.”

Question : If Ellen makes a case of this, how would you rate her chances of winning?

Weller’s verdict: “The operational phrase,” Plant Engineer Frank Weller told Fisher, “is ‘continuous service.’ Management’s intention in linking those two words together is clear. During a strike, service is discontinued. It’s tough medicine for Ellen, but I’m afraid she’ll have to swallow the pill.”