Lisa Belanger is a busy woman. In addition to being a foster parent to two boys, she was, until recently, a full-time assistant manager at an apartment complex in Winston-Salem, North Carolina (video below).
Though Belanger claims she rarely took days off and had never been reprimanded, her employer allegedly asked her to pick between work and her family shortly after she asked to take half a day off to care for her sick foster son.
“I kind of begged for my job. I stressed to her that I liked my job. I wanted to work there,” she explained. Still, she was fired.
Belanger worked for the company for two and a half years before she was terminated, Fox 8 reported.
Belanger contacted a lawyer because her friends and family believe she was fired unlawfully.
North Carolina is an “employment-at-will” state, according to the North Carolina Department of Labor. The term means that an employer “can treat its employees as it sees fit (including the assignment of demeaning tasks) and the employer can discharge an employee at the will of the employer for any reason or no reason at all.”
So, even if Belanger’s firing seems unfair, it may not be illegal. There are some exceptions — employees can’t be fired in the case of a workers compensation claim and federal law prevents discrimination against race, age, religion, gender and disability.
State Rep. Pricey Harrison thinks the law should change,“We clearly need to do a better job of protecting workers.” She adds, “We’ve got a bit of an obstacle to overcome here at the legislature. We are at-will. We are right to work. We are very employer friendly and worker protections are not a high priority around here and in fact, we tend to be on the other end of it — eroding them.”
Belanger hopes the policy changes