Woman Fired After Attending Son's Boot Camp Graduation - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

01/07/04 - Longview

Woman Fired After Attending Son's Boot Camp Graduation

At a time many businesses are bending over backwards to support our troops, an East Texas woman is fired for requesting extra time to spend with her military son. Monica Upright's recent trip to see her son graduate from boot camp cost her job.... Which has angered a new marine.

"It was kind of disappointing that they would let her go because of that... because she gave notice in advance that she would be leaving for a special event , it put some hurt in me because I'm doing this to help better serve our country and its kind of a slap in the face" said Marine private David Inman. According to Upright, she had originally asked for 3 days for the trip , then extended it to 6.

Her employer, Drug Emporium, has a policy of not allowing vacation time during holidays and inventory time, but say they bent the rules and allowed the 3 days, but not the extension. Her sons graduation would happen only once , and she was going to be there.

"I wanted to see my son graduate and I asked for another 3 days... Because 3 days was traveling time" Said the proud mother.

"If you have a son graduating then parents should have that right to go and see them graduate" said Inman. Upright says when she showed back up for work on the 26th of December, she was told she'd been replaced.

"I don't believe that you should lose a job to go see a special event like that because it's once in a lifetime." said Inman. In retrospect, upright says it was worth it. "oh I'd do it again , I'm so proud of him" said Upright.

A prepared statement from Drug Emporium states “On or about December 8 the Monika requested time off from December 17 the through December 19 the to attend the graduation of her son from basic training. We generally do not grant time off between Thanksgiving and January 1 because it is the busy time of the year in retail. Because we thought this situation should to be treated as an exception, we agreed to her request. When Monika returned to work the next day, she announced that she had discussed it with her husband and was going to take off until after Christmas because she wanted to spend more time with her son. It was our understanding that her son was scheduled to be in Longview until sometime in mid January. Monika was told that she would not be granted the additional time off and that if she chose to take it, she would be replaced. She did not return to the store until December 26 when she was told that her position had been filled. We believe that we acted with reason and understanding throughout this situation. Her choice to dictate the length of time off left us with no option. The decision to fill her position was made with regret but out of necessity to keep the store properly staffed and operating efficiently.”

Bob Hallmark reporting.

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