Thursday, August 06, 2015

Suit Challenges Prof's Firing For Becoming Pregnant Out of Wedlock

A former Assistant Professor of Exercise Science at Northwest Christian University in Eugene, Oregon filed a discrimination suit this week after she was fired for becoming pregnant out of wedlock.  The complaint (full text) in Richardson v. Northwest Christian University, (OR Cir. Ct., filed 8/4/2015), contends that when plaintiff Coty Richardson became pregnant by her partner with whom she has had a 12 year relationship. the University gave her an ultimatum:
she had to either (1) proclaim the pregnancy a mistake and dissociate with the father of her child or (2) marry him immediately and provide proof of their union. Dr. Lindsay [Vice President for Academic Affairs] told Ms. Richardson that having a child out of wedlock while still continuing a relationship with the father was inconsistent with the University’s core values and mission and set a “bad example” for the students. When Ms. Richardson refused the University’s demands and requested privacy in her personal life, she was locked out of the University and her employment was terminated.
Among other things, the suit claims violations of Oregon's ban on employment discrimination on the basis of  pregnancy, gender and marital status. It also claims discrimination on the basis of religion, i.e. her belief that it is appropriate for her, as a Christian, to wait until she and her partner are financially, practically, and emotionally ready for marriage. Wall Street Journal reports on the lawsuit.