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Employee Out Sick Shortly After Hire

We have an employee that joined last week and worked 2 days and has been out sick since. NY based F/T hire, benefit eligible. We generally give benefit of the doubt, but as I understand the situation it has been a different excuse / illness in this short time span. This is a red flag to me. Tips please, any hurdles to terminating employment and I am assuming FMLA has no bearing here.


Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, |

There should be no problem. Just document. You can always ask your General Counsel.

Topic Expert
Patrick Dunne
Title: Chief Financial Officer
Company: Milk Source
(Chief Financial Officer, Milk Source) |

Document as Wayne mentioned and make sure (with counsel) you are acting within the realm of applicable law. I have seen much more of this in the last couple of years.

Chris Shumate
Title: Accounting Manager
Company: Dominion Development Group, LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(Accounting Manager, Dominion Development Group, LLC) |

Not sure of the laws in NY, but if you have a probationary period for new employees, I wouldn't think it would be an issue to terminate employment. In Tennessee, it's can be a double-edged sword because companies have a right to terminate employment with or without cause. The smart ones document irrespective of the reasons for terminating.

Ming Sold
Title: CEO
Company: EDU America, Inc
(CEO , EDU America, Inc ) |

The key here, as mentioned above, is the probationary period and proper documentation. Is there a written or implied employment contractual agreement? Do you have an employee policy manual with specifics pertaining to termination?

Topic Expert
Christie Jahn
Title: CFO
Company: Prime Investments & Development
(CFO, Prime Investments & Development) |

FMLA does not apply unless they have worked for you for 12 months. If NY is an At Will State you can terminate. The biggest concerns most people have is unemployment, but it sounds like you would have reasonable cause for termination and the person only worked two days. Our policy states anything over two days we reserve the right to require a doctors note, so I would defer to your policy manual as others have mentioned.

Title: CFO
Company: C-Suite Services
LinkedIn Profile
(CFO, C-Suite Services) |

Is he benefit (i.e. sick leave) eligible or not? If he is, then you don't have a choice. If you do not like this kind of situation occurring again, change your policy going forward. Remember, it will be a hard case for terminating an employee that is availing of the benefit he is eligible for. If you do not have documentation or proof that he "lied" about his "excuses", you are opening yourself up for a lawsuit. It is up to you to "disprove" them. Don't blame or punish the employee for availing it.

Ross Anderson, CPA, MBA
Title: Controller
Company: TFS Capital
(Controller, TFS Capital) |

Document. But keep in mind they may very well be legitimately sick. Also be grateful that the worker did not come in and get others sick (with me that means my kids getting sick). Do not terminate or punish, but please make notes as you would with everyone else.

Mark Perlin
Title: Business Consultant
Company: Self Employed
(Business Consultant , Self Employed) |

Obviously this person had a lot of positive qualities before you hired. You did a thorough background check. Granted, you can't account for everything but sometimes people really get sick. You seem to be communicating that there is more to this than the person being sick or ill as you indicate there is a different excuse. It would seem if they are really sick it is not an excuse. They are sick. So, clearly, there is some disconnect with the employee. Certainly, you need legal guidance on this. Your attorney should be able to guide you as to how to conduct a discussion with this employee to determine what is really going on and if in fact there is a real illness. It would be easy to say just terminate the employee but if in fact they are sick then it also doesn't send a great message to the rest of the staff that if you are sick you could be gone. I realize this person has not built up anything that would give you sense to give the benefit of the doubt. However, you did see some value to have offered them the job in the first place. You didn't mention the job level so I don't know if this is a senior level, mid level or entry level. This would have some impact on what you might do as well.

(Associate) |

I would also say it's a red flag. Personally, I find any way possible to go to work when I'm new. One time I had bronchitis and the medications upset my stomach. I couldn't eat all week, but I had initial training I had to attend. I found a way (and lost 5 pounds).

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, |

While I applaud your fortitude and effort... if you're that sick, please stay at home.

I wouldn't want my entire staff coming down with the same malady (assuming that was possible). If what you have is not communicable, odds are your performance will be affected. You also increase your chances of getting hurt in the office. Stay home a few days....

BTW, I have that work ethic, and I've gone to work at times with the latter types of issues, and it hasn't been pretty.... I have started taking my own advice...

(Finance Director / Controller) |

By way of update we term'd the employee 3 weeks or so after I posted the question. The individual wanted to convert their job into a P/T work from home position but didn't want to provide any supporting info. The red flag was legitimate in this instance.


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