HR Strange But True

Fired for Getting Pregnant or for Sleeping with Fiancé?

By: Kyle Emshwiller

A woman who taught at a Christian school has filed a discrimination suit against her employer, claiming she was fired after she conceived a baby with her fiancé out of wedlock.

What happened. The woman began to work for the school in 2008. In 2009, she became pregnant and was married a month later.

She went to her employer and asked for maternity leave, admitting during the meeting the baby was conceived before marriage. The next week she was fired, supposedly for the sin of premarital sex.

The woman filed a discrimination charge with EEOC and, soon after, filed a complaint in federal district court of pregnancy discrimination under Title VII and also a complaint of marital status discrimination and invasion of privacy under state law. The woman contended that her employer fired her because her pregnancy inconvenienced them.

The court threw out the lawsuit. She appealed.
The case moved to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. The court reversed the district court’s decision in favor of the school on the woman’s Title VII pregnancy discrimination claim, finding there was enough disagreement on the reason she was terminated for her case to go in front of a jury.