Unwed, Pregnant Teacher Fired from Christian School Entitled to Sue School
A U.S. appeals court recently reinstated a teacher's lawsuit against the Christian school that fired her for becoming pregnant out of wedlock.
When the teacher told the school’s administrator that she was pregnant and would need maternity leave, the school fired her, explaining that there are consequences for disobeying the word of God. The teacher filed a lawsuit, claiming that the school discriminated against her based on pregnancy, in violation of Title VII. The trial court dismissed her claim on summary judgment, finding that the teacher failed to show that her termination was a result of her pregnancy instead of over moral concerns about premarital sex.
On appeal, the Eleventh Circuit overturned the dismissal, finding that the trial court erred in concluding that the teacher had not established a prima facie case that she was fired because of her pregnancy instead of her premarital sex. Title VII does not protect any right to engage in premarital sex, but does protect the right to get pregnant. In this case, the fired teacher presented evidence suggesting that the school’s administrator appeared more concerned about her taking maternity leave than about her admission of premarital sex.
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