New dad claims he was fired during birth of his child

Published: Jan. 1, 2016 at 3:21 AM CST|Updated: Aug. 5, 2016 at 9:33 PM CDT
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BOSSIER CITY, LA (KSLA) - A Bossier City man says a decision to be with his girlfriend while she was having complications with the birth of their first child initially led to him being fired.

The new dad says he isn't returning to work because at one point he was told not to return.

It's a complicated situation. The couple say they did not complete the paperwork necessary for the Family Medical Leave Act, which allows eligible employees to take unpaid leave and have job protection for 12 weeks. The birth of a child or caring for a newborn falls under FMLA.

Despite not completing the paperwork, the couple believe the company was insensitive toward their circumstances.

Now, even though the father is being told he has a job to come back to, Austin St. Denis is choosing to find a new one. "I have been a 2-year employee and I try to be there for my child and I just get terminated."

He said managers at Brookshire's in Benton gave him 2 days off to be with his pregnant girlfriend, who was having pregnancy complications just days before delivery. Bryanna Taylor says she needed her boyfriend by her side both days.

"They found white cells in the kidney, and they thought he might have Down syndrome. And on the second day, the baby lost oxygen," she said.

The couple say on day 3, while Taylor was in labor with their first child, a store manager decided St. Denis would have no job to come back to.

"The second day they were like, if you don't come in, you're going to be terminated," St. Denis recalled.

KSLA News 12 reached out to Brookshire's Grocery Co. headquarters in Tyler, Texas, and was told the company is unable to comment on any situation involving an employee.

Right now, the couple are focused on their biggest concern, baby Hunter, who remains at University Health in Shreveport after being born prematurely.

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