Q & A Session – AWOL Denial


Ask the Lawyer received the following question (paraphrased for easier reading and clarity) from a reader on a legal matter that might be of interest to the entire audience.


I am an exemplary career employee of almost 30 years. This year, my husband became ill and I exhausted all my leave. I asked for 4-5 months of Absence without Leave which would give me time to submit my retirement packets and begin receiving benefits. The request was denied as was my request to work from home. Other employees have been allowed to telework and were granted up to a year of Leave without Pay. What would you recommend? Is there anything in federal law that would assist my request? I am not being charged AWOL as I cannot return to work due to spouse’s medical condition and may face disciplinary action. I have never abused leave or asked for Leave without Pay.


I do not understand why you asked for AWOL rather than LWOP. If other employees have been granted LWOP and you had asked for LWOP and it was denied, you might have a defense to an AWOL misconduct charge.

Bill Bransford is managing partner of Shaw Bransford & Roth PC.

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1 Comment

  1. Employee could/should have applied for donated leave via Voluntary Leave Transfer Program (VLTP), or exercised her FMLA entitlement. Her HRO SHOULD have counseled her on these options, rather than her just taking off.

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