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This Vet Missed Work When His Wife Went Into Labor, So His Company Fired Him
Cainan Austin was the first baby born in Concord, New Hampshire, in 2017, but his arrival marked a bittersweet occasion for his dad. In order to be present for his son’s birth, Army veteran Lamar Austin had to call out of work at his new job.
Austin told the Concord Monitor that he was scheduled to work Dec. 30 and 31, but his employer, Manchester-based Salerno Protective Services, was less than understanding when his wife Lindsay spent those two days in labor.
He called out the first day, but on the second day, his supervisor responded with a warning.
“I didn’t want to make it seem like I’m trying to miss work or something,” Austin said. “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.’ ”
Still, Austin refused to leave his wife.
As promised, at 1 a.m. on New Year’s Day, Austin said he got a text, reading, “As of now, you are terminated.”
“I just responded ‘ok,’ ” Austin told the Concord Monitor. “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.”
Austin served for more than three years in the Army spending a six months in Iraq as an ammunition specialist in 2006. He now lives in New Hampshire with his wife and four children. The job at Salerno Protective Services was new, and he was hired on a 90-day probationary basis. The company, however, expects its employees to be on-call 24/7. And because of the terms of his contract, his termination was perfectly legal.
“Maybe I just wasn’t working there long enough for them to want to keep me,” Austin said.
Prior to working there, he held jobs as a crossing guard, at Target, and Pitco, a company that makes oil fryers for fast food companies. And while he was unemployed, his church helped him and his family get back on the feet.
He hopes eventually to get into electrical work.
After reading Austin’s story, Denis Beaudoin, the business manager from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in Concord, reached out to Austin, offering him the chance to apply for an apprenticeship. Three other companies approached him as well, and a fundraiser pledged to help his family out financially.
“Sometimes you lose something and you get something even better,” Austin said.
The command chief of the 20th Fighter Wing at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, was removed from his position last month after his chain of command received evidence he disrespected his subordinates.
Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.
The "suck it up and drive on" mentality permeated our years in the U.S. military and often led us to delay getting both physical and mental health care. As veterans, we now understand that engaging in effective care enables us not just to survive but to thrive. Crucially, the path to mental wellness, like any serious journey, isn't accomplished in a day — and just because you need additional or recurring mental health care doesn't mean your initial treatment failed.
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Radio Free Europe/Radio Free Liberty.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has called on the security alliance's allies to maintain and strengthen their "unity," saying the organization is "the only guarantor of European and transatlantic security."
Stoltenberg told reporters on November 19 that NATO "has only grown stronger over the last 70 years" despite "differences" among the allies on issues such as trade, climate, the Iran nuclear deal, and the situation in northeastern Syria.
He was speaking at the alliance's headquarters in Brussels on the eve of a NATO foreign ministers meeting aimed at finalizing preparations for next month's summit in London.
WASHINGTON — More than $35 million of the roughly $400 million in aid to Ukraine that President Donald Trump delayed, sparking the impeachment inquiry, has not been released to the country, according to a Pentagon spending document obtained by the Los Angeles Times.
Instead, the defense funding for Ukraine remains in U.S. accounts, according to the document. It's not clear why the money hasn't been released, and members of Congress are demanding answers.
The admiral in charge of Navy special operators will decide whether to revoke the tridents for Eddie Gallagher and other SEALs involved in the Navy's failed attempt to prosecute Gallagher for murder, a defense official said Tuesday.
The New York Times' David Philipps first reported on Tuesday that the Navy could revoke the SEAL tridents for Gallagher as well as his former platoon commander Lt. Jacob Portier and two other SEALs: Lt. Cmdr. Robert Breisch and Lt. Thomas MacNeil.
The four SEALs will soon receive a letter that they have to appear before a board that will consider whether their tridents should be revoked, a defense official told Task & Purpose on condition of anonymity.