[UPDATE: Sept. 15] The Philadelphia aviation school has agreed to resume paying Claudia Rendon, the women the company fired last week for taking time off to donate one of her kidneys to her ailing son.
Aviation Institute of Maintenance has already filled Rendon's post, but has agreed to pay her salary until another position opens up, myfoxphilly.com reports.
"We had time to reconsider," said Kyle Berry, the supervisor who fired Rendon. "It was simply a mistake."
Still, the gesture isn't the same as giving Rendon her job back, Berry conceded.
"No, it's according to our policy and procedure," Berry told the TV station.
Claudia Rendon has had a bad year. First, her mother passed away, and then her father was diagnosed with leukemia. Soon after, her uncle passed, and finally her son's kidneys failed.
When it came to this last tragedy, however, Rendon could do something about it. She donated one of her kidneys and saved her child's life. But when she tried to return to work after the ordeal, her family had to face another blow: her company had hired somebody else, reports Fox 29.
The Philadelphia mother had used up her vacation time to be with her own mother during her final days. So when she requested a leave of absence for the organ transplant, her boss at the Aviation Institute of Maintenance made her sign a paper that said her job would not be guaranteed. Sure enough, it wasn't.
Even as a Fox 29 reporter, with cameras in tow, hounded Rendon's former supervisor, telling him American viewers might see his action as "heartless," the man refused to comment, and asked them to please leave.
If Rendon had worked for a company that had 50 or more employees in a 75-mile radius, the Family Medical Leave Act would have protected her job for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. But that law does not apply to a smaller employer like the Aviation Institute of Maintenance. The logic of the law is that such an absence would be a more difficult financial blow to a smaller firm.
While an unimaginably difficult year for Rendon ended in another injustice, albeit a legal one, the more important story of her life right now has a happy ending. Her son is doing well.
"She saved my life basically," Alex Rendon told Fox 29. "Who else can say their mom gave them life two times?"
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