Catholic School Teacher Fired for Getting Pregnant Out of Wedlock Can Proceed with Discrimination Case
After being fired for becoming pregnant out of wedlock, a former Catholic school English teacher has been denied reinstatement of employment but has been granted permission to proceed with her discrimination lawsuit against the school.
On Tuesday, Northumberland County Judge Hugh A. Jones found that the one-year contract the former teacher, Naiad Reich, signed on June 14, 2018, did not guarantee future employment.
Jones did, however, note that Reich provided sufficient enough evidence suggesting that she was terminated because of her pregnancy to proceed with a discrimination case.
"We are pleased that Judge Jones has ruled that we may proceed on our claims for declaratory judgment and unlawful discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act,” said Reich’s attorney Timothy A. Bowers in a statement. “We look forward to taking those claims to trial."
Reich’s suit is seeking unspecified damages and is accusing the diocese of “discrimination by firing a female, qualified teacher employed in a non-ministerial capacity,” Penn Live Patriot-News reports.
According to Fox News, Reich – who is not Catholic – was fired from Our Lady of Lourdes Regional High School in Coal Township, Pennsylvania in December of 2018 after she informed the diocese that she and her boyfriend were expecting but not planning on getting married in the near future.
The Diocese of Harrisburg in Pennsylvania told Fox 56 in 2018 that all employees are required to “follow the teachings, doctrine, and laws of the Catholic Church as part of the hiring process.”
Reich herself confirmed this requirement, noting that she and other employees were required to sign a morality clause upon being hired at the school.
According to the Catholic Church’s standards, pregnancy outside of marriage is considered immoral.
Fox News reports that the diocese is standing behind the school’s administrators, Bishop Ronald Gainer and Sister Mary Ann Bednar, who "carefully considered diocesan policy and pastoral care" before terminating Reich’s position with the school.
According to Penn Live, at a court hearing in March 2019, Bednar testified that had Reich agreed to marry her partner, she likely would not have been fired.
Reich, who has not married her boyfriend, is now the mother of a “healthy baby girl.”
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Kayla Koslosky has been the Editor of ChristianHeadlines.com since 2018. She has B.A. degrees in English and History and previously wrote for and was the managing editor of the Yellow Jacket newspaper. She has written on her blog since 2012 and has also contributed to IBelieve.com and Crosswalk.com.