Last week, we discussed a pregnancy discrimination case, and since then another story has been reported involving a woman who allegedly lost her job due to her pregnancy. However, in this case, it was not the pregnancy itself that upset the employer; it was reportedly the manner in which the woman became pregnant. The 29-year-old woman's employer, a Christian college, fired the pregnant woman for engaging in pre-marital sex, according to a lawsuit that has now been filed.
This case is quite complicated because the woman reportedly signed an employment contract with the San Diego college that included a pledge not to engage in premarital sex. However, after the woman lost her job, the college apparently offered her position to her then-fiancé, even though the college was aware he had also engaged in premarital sex. The future of this case may have an impact on employment disputes here in Texas.
While this case may sound shocking, this is not so uncommon. In fact, last spring in Texas, a teacher was fired by a Christian school because of her unwed pregnancy.
Cases such as these are complex because they often involve contracts in which employees have promised to abide by certain values. However, contracts are not enforceable if they violate anti-discrimination laws. Some have argued that such contracts are discriminatory because a pregnancy gives away that fact that a female employee has engaged in premarital sex, while there is no such indicator for males.
There are currently several cases working their way through the courts involving similar employment disputes. This area of the law will likely become better defined as these cases are decided. In the meantime, anyone in Texas who is fired for similar reasons might benefit from discussing their rights with an employment law attorney.
Source: Huffington Post, "Teri James, Pregnant Woman Allegedly Fired For Premarital Sex, Sues Christian School," Katherine Bindley, March 2, 2013