The company who fired Lamar Austin on Jan. 1 for missing two days of work to attend his son’s birth may not have acted illegally, but man, is that a harsh way to wish an employee Happy New Year.
Military veteran Austin hadn’t missed a shift of his 90-day trial period as a part-time security guard with Salerno Protective Services, but decided he wanted to be by his wife Lindsay’s side when she went into labor with their fourth child.
The 30-year-old received a text at 1 a.m. on Jan. 1 telling him he was terminated due to his absence. Still, he had bigger things to think about. His son Caiman arrived that day — the first child to be born in Concord, New Hampshire, in 2017, no less.
The birth of a child is a pretty momentous occasion — and not something many women would want to go through alone if they can possibly help it. Surely Austin’s employer could have cut him some slack. It’s not as if he skipped work to sit home and eat tacos.
Anyway, it seems we can all learn from this man’s positive attitude. “Sometimes you lose something and you get something even better,” he said Sunday. Specifically, he has gained at least three job offers, an outpouring of support from the public and a fundraising page dedicated to helping his family financially.
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He’s been offered an apprenticeship by Denis Beaudoin, the business manager from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in Concord (as well as an assurance that he won’t be penalized for having a big family and wanting to spend time with them); another apprenticeship from Glenn Brackett, president of the NH AFL-CIO union; and an offer of help finding a job from the branch manager of a staffing agency in Portsmouth.
It was mom-of-two Sara Persechino from Hopkinton who set up the GoFundMe page for Austin and his family. “I don’t think anyone should ever have to choose between their family and their job,” she said.
In at-will employment states like New Hampshire, an employer may generally terminate a part-time or full-time worker at any time and for any reason, with only a few exceptions (the birth of a father’s child not being one of them).