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Bryant Whitten, LLP

California woman fired for out-of-wedlock pregnancy

A woman is claiming she was fired from her position with a California college after she became pregnant. Up until last October, the woman was employed as a financial aid specialist by San Diego Christian College. After stories began circulating campus that the then-unmarried woman was pregnant, her supervisor asked her if the rumors were true. When she said yes, she was given a choice between resigning or being fired. The woman is now suing her former employer for wrongful discharge.

College officials say the woman was not fired because she was pregnant but because she violated the terms of a "community covenant" that all employees and students of the school are required to sign. The covenant prohibits use of drugs, alcohol and cigarettes and other behavior viewed as immoral, including premarital sex. The human resources director for the college told the woman she was being fired for engaging in premarital sex.

The woman's attorney says the college does not apply its rules equally. After the woman was fired, the school offered a job to her fiancé, who is the father of her child, despite knowing that he also engaged in premarital sex. He did not accept the job. The woman and her fiancé have since married and are expecting the baby, their first, in June.

It is illegal in California to discriminate against an employee on the basis of pregnancy, marital status, or gender. An employee who believes he or she has been treated differently than other employees or subjected to an adverse employment action on the basis of his or her protected class status could consider seeking the advice of a knowledgeable workplace discrimination attorney. The attorney can review the situation to determine if there is evidence to support a wrongful discharge claim.

Source: Digital Journal, "College fires woman for premarital sex, out of wedlock pregnancy," Yukio Strachan, March 2, 2013

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