Can a company give negative rehire status for using a sick day?

I’m not sure if rehire status is something covered by law or just company policy. I worked as a supervisor at the same company and building as my fianc but different shifts. We were together before either of us starting working there, and when they gave my fianc a promotion that required relocating but did not have a position for me to transfer into. I was told I could reapply after moving to another building, I just cant work in the same building as my fianc anymore. During that month I became very sick, had a fever of 103, throwing up constantly, and couldn’t even walk. Even if someone else drove me to work there was no way for me to work safely if at all, however I did not feel the ER was necessary or in my budget. It was the beginning of the year so I had 3 sick days I could use, I asked to use 1 and gave ample notice. My boss waited until the last minute to respond with a text and said I would get a negative rehire status for not coming in. Now that we are settled in our new city I tried to re-apply and found out he did give me a negative rehire status. This was an at will employment, so I didnt have to give them any notice, yet I gave them a month. If I hadn’t, they wouldn’t have had the idea to threaten me with a negative rehire status. Is there any action that I can take since I was using an allotted sick day? This feels like unfair treatment and I have plenty of references in the company that say they would recommend me. However, the district manager for our current area will not allow any negative rehire to be overridden regardless of the reason.

Asked on August 2, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Texas


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Unless you had an employment contract or union agreement to the contrary, you were an "at will" worker. This means that your former employer could choose not to re-hire you and place you on "negative rehire staus" for any reason or no reason at all (absent some form of legally actionable discrimination). Bottom line, a company can set the conditions of work much as it sees fit.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

It may be unfair, but if the employment was employment at will as you indicate it was (and as all employment in this country is, unless there is a written employment contract to the contrary), then there is no obligation to rehire you at all, and the employer may put you on "negative rehire status" for any reason whatsoever. When you are an employee at will, you have no rights to be hired or to a job, unfortunately.

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