CINCINNATI (CN) – An unmarried teacher says a Catholic school fired her for becoming pregnant, which violated the “philosophy and teachings of the Roman Catholic Church,” and when she told her bosses she was pregnant through artificial insemination – not premarital sex – the diocese and school “changed their reasoning” and fired her anyway.
Christa Dias sued the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and two of its private schools – St. Lawrence School and Holy Family School. She worked as the technology coordinator for both schools until she was fired.
In her federal complaint, Dias says that when she told Holy Family’s principal that she was pregnant, the principal “informed Ms. Dias that she did not consider her pregnancy to be a problem and congratulated her.”
But later that day, Dias says, Principal Jennifer O’Brien told her that “she had spoken with a colleague from another school about Ms. Dias’ pregnancy, and that Ms. Dias would likely be terminated immediately because she was pregnant and unmarried.”
Dias says she “informed Ms. O’Brien that she was pregnant as a result of artificial insemination, and not as a result of premarital sexual intercourse.”
Nonetheless, a few days later, “Ms. O’Brien informed Ms. Dias via telephone that she was being terminated, effective the next day. Ms. O’Brien told Ms. Dias that she needed to come to Holy Family to sign some paperwork, after which she would be escorted to the computer laboratory to gather her belongings, and then escorted out of the building. Shortly thereafter, [St. Lawrence’s principal] informed Ms. Dias that she would be terminated from St. Lawrence’s as well.
“Ms. Dias received letters from both Holy Family and St. Lawrence … informing her that she was being terminated for her alleged ‘failure to comply and act consistently in accordance with the stated philosophy and teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.'”
The complaint continues: “Defendants initially stated that Ms. Dias was discharged for ‘becoming pregnant outside of marriage,’ which they claimed was a violation of the philosophy and teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. After being notified of a potential violation of federal and state anti-discrimination laws, defendants changed their reasoning for terminating Ms. Dias to her use of artificial insemination to become pregnant, which they claim is also a violation of the philosophy and teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.
“Defendants have admitted that they had no other reasons to terminate Ms. Dias’s employment.”
Dias says the “defendants’ application and enforcement of the philosophy and teachings of the Catholic Church were not gender neutral, and are applied and enforced unequally against women and pregnant women.”
She seeks back pay, front pay and punitive damages for breach of contract and pregnancy discrimination.
She is represented by Robert Klingler.
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