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Ohio mom calls for law that would force employers to notify family when minors don't show up to work

Posted at 9:54 AM, Feb 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-04 12:54:09-05

SANDUSKY, Ohio — Every single day, Bonnilee Jackson wears a band with her son's name and a bracelet with his picture.

Jackson said her son, Damian, was academically and athletically gifted and was loved by everyone. But late last year her world came crashing down.

"When I went out to leave, his car wasn't sitting next to my car where it normally is," Jackson said.

17-year-old Damian was found dead in Toledo.

Damian was scheduled for a work shift at Kalahari Resorts Sandusky as a lifeguard, but he didn't show up, and he didn't call off.

"I just assumed that they would contact a parent for something like that," Jackson said. "I was shocked that they didn't call me."

Jackson believes her son's death could have been prevented. She said if employees at the Kalahari Resorts would have just called her to say he never showed up, maybe she could have tracked him down. That's why she's starting a petition for lawmakers to institute a law that would require employers to try and make contact with their workers if they don't show up for work.

"If someone no call/no shows, (employers) will be obligated to call the employee, try to make contact with that employee," Jackson said. "If you're unable to reach them, the next line is to contact their emergency contact, which is part of the worker's permit."

This potential law would only apply to minors who need a work permit for employment.

Jackson already has well over 25,000 signatures on her online petition, and she's hoping for many more.

"It's easy to just curl in a ball, but if its going to help someone else not go through what my family's going through at least it would do some good to someone, somewhere," Jackson said.

Kalahari Resorts could not be reached for comment.

This story was originally published by Amanda VanAllen on WEWS in Cleveland.