Think twice before rejecting a vacation request

Mel Bauer's brother wrote in his letter that the only time he could come for a visit was the last 2 wk in October. "You'll have to put in for those 2 wk when the vacation forms are passed out," his wife Berneice said. "I'll see what I can do.
By Raymond Dreyfack October 1, 1999

Mel Bauer’s brother wrote in his letter that the only time he could come for a visit was the last 2 wk in October.

“You’ll have to put in for those 2 wk when the vacation forms are passed out,” his wife Berneice said.

“I’ll see what I can do.”

Mel didn’t do very well; his request was not approved.

“Al Roth put in for those same 2 wk,” Maintenance Supervisor Fred Nunn explained. “He has seniority. If you can get Al to switch, I can give you that time.”

“Sorry,” Roth told Mel. “Helen and I have cruise reservations. They can’t be changed.”

Mel returned to Nunn’s desk. “Al can’t change his plans,” he said. “But we’re not the only mechanics in the department. Why can’t we both be out at the same time? If an emergency occurs and you find yourself shorthanded, I’ll come in.”

“Sorry,” Nunn replied. “Department policy is to avoid overlapping of skills at vacation time.”

Mel refused to settle for that. He complained to the union representative, who interceded on his behalf. The supervisor stood firm. “Department needs come first when scheduling vacations.”

“I agree, but I’m not sold on the need in this case,” the representative replied. “You haven’t heard the last of this.”

Question: Can Nunn be forced to reverse his decision?

The verdict: Plant Engineer Horace Belk replied to Nunn’s rundown of the dispute with a simple question: “Can you provide evidence to prove that production, safety, or employee relations will be adversely threatened if both men are gone at the same time?”

Nunn frowned. “I don’t know. I don’t think so.”

“In that case, I suggest you approve Bauer’s request.”