Yes, the decision to approve or deny the use of accrued vacation time is up to you, assuming you do so in a consistent and non-discriminatory manner. It would be acceptable, for example, to deny a vacation request because approving it would leave you without adequate coverage, or because the employee asked with less notice than is required by your time off policy.
You should, however, ensure that certain employees are not denied vacation disproportionately. For instance, if an employer’s admin staff (who are all women), or their software engineers (who are all men), are consistently denied vacation because arranging coverage is difficult and deadlines are abundant, this could lead to claims of discrimination.
Q&A Answer Provided by Angela, PHR
Angela has extensive experience in HR, conflict management and employee relations. She spent several years working as a high volume (and full cycle) recruiter for a large multi-channel retailer. Angela earned her B.A. in English Literature and Criminology from the University of South Florida and also holds a paralegal certification from Saint Petersburg College. Angela also is certified to investigate Federal sector EEO claims of discrimination.