A father of four from New Hampshire who missed two shifts at his job to be with his wife while she gave birth to their son was fired on Jan. 1.
Lamar Austin, a military veteran, was on a 90-day trial period with Solerno Protective Services, which provides security to stores and colleges, The Huffington Post reported.
Austin had worked all of his shifts, but on Dec. 28 he had to decline an offer to work because he had to take his wife to the doctor. The employer reportedly wanted him to be on call 24/7 and "dependable."
When his wife went into labor two days later, Austin decided to remain with her at the hospital.
"I thought, 'I'm just going to do what I feel is right for my family,' and that's it," he said.
At around 1 a.m. on New Year's Day, Austin got a text message from his employer, reading, "As of now, you are terminated."
"I looked at it and I was like, 'Wow. OK, cool,' and that was about it for me," said Austin of his reaction.
He added that he was focused on the birth of his son, Cainan, the first baby to be born in Concord in 2017.
Austin did not have to wait long until support for his decision poured in. Several organizations gave Austin job offers, among them the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
"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," said Denis Beaudoin, who encouraged Austin to apply for an apprentice position, according to the Concord Monitor.
"That's the one I'm going to pursue," Austin told The Huffington Post.
Complete strangers also helped out the Austin family. Sahra Persechino set up a GoFundMe page to raise funds for the family to help cover the unexpected loss of income.
"I don’t think they should have to be worrying about financial issues right now; it should be a joyful time for them,” Persechino said. “Anything we can do to make this even more joyous is worth it."
New Hampshire is an at-will employment state, meaning employers and employees can usually terminate an employment contract at any time for any reason.