CONCORD, New Hampshire -- Lamar and Lindsay Austin rang in the new year with the birth of baby boy Cainan, the couple's fourth child and the first baby born at Concord Hospital in 2017. Unfortunately, Lamar's decision to be there for his son's birth cost him his job.
At the time, Lamar was a month into his 90-day trial period as a part-time guard with Salerno Protective Services. He was scheduled to work Friday and Saturday, but when his wife went into early labor on Friday, Austin had to call out. On Saturday, Lindsay still hadn't given birth, and Lamar said he couldn't come in again. His boss told him if he wasn't in at 8 the next day, he would be fired.
New Hampshire is an "at-will employment" state, which means Salerno Protective Services could legally end his contract at any time for any reason.
“I thought, ‘Family comes before anything else,’ ” Austin said. “I’m not going to turn my back on them for a job.”
At 1 a.m. on New Year's Day, Lamar got a text saying he was officially fired. At 7:44 that morning, Cainan arrived, and his father was there to witness it.
“It was hard, but if I have to choose between work and family, I’m always going to pick my family,” he said.
After Lamar's story gained traction in the local New Hampshire media, Sarah Persechino, a family leave advocate, started a GoFundMe page to help the Austins deal with the financial pressures of a new baby. "No one should have to choose between their family and their job," she wrote.
Lamar, who previously served for almost four years in the United States Army, has received several job offers since his story went viral, including an apprenticeship with the Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and an opportunity with the AFL-CIO labor union.
“Sometimes you lose something, and you get something even better," he said.