Thursday, February 07, 2013

Teacher's Pregnancy Discrimination Claim Against Catholic School Must Go To Jury

In Dias v. Archdiocese of Cincinnati, (SD OH, Jan.30, 2013), a former technology coordinator at two Catholic Archdiocese schools sued under Title VII claiming pregnancy discrimination after she was fired for being pregnant and unmarried, and for becoming pregnant through artificial insemination. The court held that the suit was not barred by the ministerial exception doctrine since, as a non-Catholic who was not permitted to teach Catholic doctrine, plaintiff could not be considered a minister of the Catholic faith. The Archdiocese claimed it relied on the morals clause in the teacher's contract in dismissing her. The court concluded that it is up to a jury to determine the real reason for plaintiff's dismissal.  If it was a ban against premarital sex-- as opposed to a dismissal for being pregnant-- that would be permissible under Title VII, but only if the policy is enforced against men equally with women. The court, however, held that plaintiff could not sue for breach of contract because she knew she was in violations of its morals clause by hiding a long-term homosexual relationship from her employer. Courthouse News Service reports on the decision.