Can a sick worker lose his overtime priority?

Maintenance Mechanic George Halpern called his boss Friday morning. "My back's killing me. I won't be in today." "Thanks for calling,'' Maintenance Foreman Harry Cutler replied. "Rest up. I hope you feel better.
By Raymond Dreyfack December 1, 1998

Maintenance Mechanic George Halpern called his boss Friday morning.

“My back’s killing me. I won’t be in today.”

“Thanks for calling,” Maintenance Foreman Harry Cutler replied. “Rest up. I hope you feel better.”

“Monday morning, Halpern clocked in feeling spry. An hour later, he appeared at Cutler’s desk.

“Hey, what’s this I hear about the crew going in Saturday for overtime?”

“That’s right.”

“How come I wasn’t called? My name is way up on the list.”

“You phoned in sick, didn’t you?”

“Yeah, but that was Friday. What’s it got to do with Saturday?”

“I guess I just assumed that when you called in Friday, you were in no condition to work on Saturday.”

“That assumption was wrong. I’m entitled to get paid for the day.”

Question : Do you think Halpern’s claim will hold up under fire?

Russo’s ruling: “Halpern is just whistling through his teeth,” Plant Engineer Ralph Russo told Cutler. “Management can’t be expected to telephone sick workers on short notice to find out if they’re well enough to come in. Halpern knew the department was busy. If he wanted the overtime he should have called to find out if you were working on Saturday and informed you he would be available.”