Sandwich Maker Gets Fired After Calling In Sick, Then Joins A Crusade

paid sick leave
paid sick leave

For three years, Ian Rizzio, 24, had been working for a Portland sandwich shop to put himself through school. He was the manager -- working 25 to 35 hours a week, earning $9.50 an hour -- when one day he woke up feeling sick. He went into work, but ended up vomiting in the bathroom. Knowing that he couldn't serve food under the state's health code, he waited in his car for two hours, trying to reach his boss, and leaving messages. Finally he says he went home to rest.

When Rizzio came to the shop the next day, he says that his boss fired him on the spot. Like almost everywhere in the U.S. today, it was then legal in Portland for an employer to fire someone for calling in sick.