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July 01, 2011

Limiting the use of personal leave accruals

Limiting the use of personal leave accruals
Johnston v ITT Aerospace/Communications, CA7, 272 F.3d 498

Sometimes an employee will challenge his or her employer's placing restrictions on the use of an employee's personal leave accruals. In the Johnston case, the Circuit Court of Appeals considered whether an employer's leave policy that distinguished between granting paid leave in connection with an individual's responding to a court order and the employee's filing a lawsuit on his or her own behalf, was lawful.

Kevin M. Johnston, an employee of ITT Aerospace/Communications Division of ITT Industries, Inc., challenged the company's attendance policy, which contains an exception for absences that are due to the employee's being ordered by a court “to appear as a witness (not a party).” The issue was raised as part of Johnston's Title VII law suit against ITT after he was assessed two unexcused absences for days on which he attended a preliminary pretrial conference, and gave his deposition, in the Title VII action that he filed against ITT.

The Circuit Court concluded that “[t]here is nothing unlawful about a leave policy that distinguishes between leave that is due to a court order and leave to enable an employee to engage in private business, including the filing of lawsuits.”

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New York Public Personnel Law Blog Editor Harvey Randall served as Principal Attorney, New York State Department of Civil Service; Director of Personnel, SUNY Central Administration; Director of Research, Governor’s Office of Employee Relations; and Staff Judge Advocate General, New York Guard. Consistent with the Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations, the material posted to this blog is presented with the understanding that neither the publisher nor NYPPL and, or, its staff and contributors are providing legal advice to the reader and in the event legal or other expert assistance is needed, the reader is urged to seek such advice from a knowledgeable professional.
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