Ever hear of someone getting fired because they went to see their child’s birth? Lamar Austin says it happened to him.
This U.S. Army vet told the Concord Monitor that his wife went into labor on Dec. 30 and 31, and he just couldn’t make it into his scheduled shifts at Salerno Protective Services. That was apparently a problem, especially since Austin had just started working there on a part-time basis.
“I didn’t want to make it seem like I’m trying to miss work or something,” he told the outlet. “The second day I told my boss, ‘My wife is still in labor,’ and he just said, ‘You’re forcing my hand, if you aren’t in work by 8 tomorrow we are going to terminate you.’”
Austin made the decision see the birth of his new son, Cainan. He got the text at 1 a.m., New Year’s Day: “As of now, you are terminated.”
“I just responded ‘ok,’ ” he said. “I was in the hospital, it was a long night, and I wasn’t trying to argue with nobody about a job while my wife was in labor.”
It’s unlikely we’ll see any lawsuit out of this. Employment law and personal injury attorney Rosemarie Arnold told LawNewz.com he doesn’t have a lot of room to act.
“All though in some states, depending on the size of the company, the status of the employee and the reason for the leave, people are protected from heartless actions of their employers such as this act,” she said. “However, in this case, because the worker was part-time, he has unfortunately, no legal recourse.”
In any case, the company isn’t saying very much right now.
“Being shrouded in confidentiality we are unable to comment until all business with Mr. Austin has been concluded,” Anthony Salerno Jr., of Salerno Protective Services told WCVB. “SPS is not in the practice of releasing employees for reasons stated in the article published in the Monitor but must be cognizant of the product we give our clients!”
As for Austin and his family, they’ve got their share of supporters. A Good Samaritan claims she got the family’s blessing to start a GoFundMe page on their behalf.
“I don’t think they should have to be worrying about financial issues right now; it should be a joyful time for them,” Sara Persechino told the outlet. “Anything we can do to make this even more joyous is worth it.” As of Friday, she has raised over $2,000 out of a $5000 goal.
And Austin’s been getting apprenticeship offers from places like the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in Corncord and the New Hampshire AF-CIO.
“I know how valuable family time is, and if you’re a union member we incorporate that,” IBEW business manager Denis Beaudoin told the Monitor. “We understand that, and we don’t penalize you for that,” Beaudoin said.
Austin’s professional future remains unclear for now.
[image via Boh Beh and Shutterstock]