Family

Employee Gets Pink Slip After Attending Son’s Birth

Trial period is cancelled when father chooses baby over work

Heard the one about the expectant father who missed worked when his son was born — and got fired for it?

It’s true. And there is actually more to it than that. Much more.

Lamar Austin and his wife, Lindsay, welcomed their son, Cainana, into the world in the Granite State on Jan. 1. The little guy made the news because he was the first baby born in Concord, New Hampshire, in the New Year.

“No one should have to choose between their family and their job.”

But the story has drawn even more media attention after local news outlets discovered Austin lost his job for missing work to attend the birth. First, a handful of job offers came in. To date, the military veteran and father of four has received at least three job leads, along with an outpouring of love and support — thanks to a GoFundMe campaign that was set up to help his family.

There are, however, a few things to be noted here. For one, and to be fair, Lamar Austin was smack-dab in the middle of a 90-day trial period with this new job, and the gig was in security.

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The job was with Salerno Protective Services, which provides security for several clients, including college campuses. He was hired about a month ago, and as such was approximately 30 days into the 90-day trial period as a part-time security guard. He was expected to be on call 24-7.

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He told a New Hampshire news outlet that when he got the job, the company said it was looking for “dependable people.” He also noted he told the firm he was not available for one shift offered to him last month, since he had to take his wife to a doctor’s appointment. Apparently, that went off without a hitch.

Related: The Lifelong Value of Paternity Leave

However, on Friday night before the New Year, Lindsay Austin went into labor. By Sunday morning, their little boy was born. Lamar Austin missed two shifts, on Friday and Saturday. At 1 a.m. on New Year’s Day, he got a text reading, “As of now, you are terminated.”

“No one should have to choose between their family and their job. Welcoming a new baby to a family should be a joyous time,” Sara Persechino, who started the campaign on Austin’s behalf, wrote in the description.

Agreed. But again, to be fair, this is child number four. Lamar had already experienced the joys of childbirth three times, and did leave his post — a college campus — unmanned for 48 hours, with seemingly no notification given to his new “trial period” boss. In today’s world of multiple communication options, this is hard for an employer to swallow.

Persechino said she had spoken to Austin before setting up the page, although she did not know him personally. The campaign has since raised over $2,000 of a $5,000 goal in just two days.

“I know how valuable family time is, and if you’re a union member, we incorporate that, we understand that and we don’t penalize you for that,” Denis Beaudoin, the business manager of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in Concord, told a local news site. After reading Austin’s story and hearing Austin was hoping to get into electrical work, Beaudoin offered him the chance to apply for an apprenticeship.

Related: For Dads, It’s Nature AND Nurture

The Concord Monitor reported that Glenn Brackett, president of the New Hampshire AFL-CIO Union, which represents almost 30,000 workers, also offered Austin an apprenticeship.

Apprenticeships don’t necessarily pay the bills, but when you’re a father of four, a part-time job doesn’t really either. Still, it’s better than nothing. Sometimes the name of the game, as a parent, is to keep just swinging.

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