Even though it is illegal for an employer to fire a woman for being pregnant, we hear about cases like that fairly regularly. It's rare, however, to hear about cases in which an employee was fired for what led to her pregnancy.
In a case that our readers in Palo Alto may find interesting, a woman is claiming that she was fired from San Diego Christian College for engaging in premarital sex. The financial aid specialist said the university fired her after learning of her pregnancy. She is now suing the college for wrongful termination.
In order to work or attend school at San Diego Christian College, you are required to sign a community covenant. One portion of the contract says that employees and students are not allowed to have premarital sex. The woman's attorney said that the school's HR department confirmed that she was fired for the act that led to her pregnancy.
What makes this situation particularly strange is that the father of her child, who she has since married, received a job offer from Christian College even though they supposedly know of his relationship to the woman they terminated. Because of this, the woman is suing the school for pregnancy discrimination, gender discrimination and discrimination based on marital status.
While the university seems to clearly express the expectations it has for its employees, the fact that they held one employee to those standards and not another may play a major role in this case. It will be interesting to see how this case unfolds.
Discrimination in the workplace should not be tolerated in California. Those who feel that they have been discriminated against by an employer -- whether being wrongly fired or refused promotion -- should know that there are ways to take action. An experienced employment law attorney can help an employee further understand his or her rights and options when considering legal action.
Source: Fox 6 WBRC, "Woman claims she was fired for having pre-marital sex," Feb. 18, 2013