No leave automatically granted except in emergency

Electrician Grade II Sam Burton approached his boss' desk one Friday afternoon. "I gotta have next week off," he said. "I'm applying for a leave of absence.


Electrician Grade II Sam Burton approached his boss' desk one Friday afternoon.

"I gotta have next week off," he said. "I'm applying for a leave of absence."

"You have got to be kidding," Maintenance Foreman Al Pollack replied. "You know we're backlogged and short-handed. You're scheduled for that lab wiring job. Leave of absence, no way! Figure on heavy overtime instead."

"Impossible. This is an emergency."

"What kind of emergency?"

"My brother's coming in from California. I haven't seen him in 2 yr."

"Your vacation's next month. You can fly out and see him then."

"No way, I can't afford the air fare."

"I'm sorry, Sam. We're in a bind and that lab job is urgent."

"Then I'll take the leave without approval."

As he stomped off Pollack called out to him, "If you do, don't bother to come back."

Burton ignored his boss' threat and took the following week off. When he returned to work, he found a dismissal notice in place of his time card. The electrician made a beeline for his shop representative who protested to Pollack that dismissal was too harsh a penalty for the offense.

Question: What do you think? Is Burton's termination justifiable?

Todd's verdict: "Absolutely," Plant Engineer Jack Todd ruled, upholding Pollack's decision. "A clause in the policy manual states clearly that employee leaves during heavy workload periods will be granted only in case of family catastrophe or illness, in which case medical proof would be required. A visit from Burton's brother falls far short of emergency. Job urgency has to take precedence over personal desire or convenience. The termination stands."

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Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

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