A California woman is suing a Christian college for wrongful termination after she was fired for having a sexual relationship outside of marriage. Teri James had worked for two years as a financial aid specialist for San Diego Christian College, but when the 29-year-old unmarried woman admitted that she was pregnant, the school's human resources director gave her an ultimatum: either quit or be fired.
James was ultimately fired because she had “engaged in activity outside the scope of the handbook and community covenant,” read her termination notice. Among other things, that covenant, which James signed and agreed to honor, states the conviction that “marriage is a covenant relationship between a man and a woman, and that God has commanded that no sexual activity be engaged in outside of marriage,” according to the school's handbook.
James has hired famed women's rights attorney Gloria Allred to represent her in a lawsuit against the school, which Allred argues violated California law prohibiting an employer from discriminating against an employee on the basis of such issues as age, race, gender identity — and marital status. “We are alleging discrimination against Teri, on account of gender, pregnancy, and marital status,” Allred said at a news conference announcing the suit. She insisted that her client's termination not only constituted such discrimination, but was also a violation of the state's Fair Employment and Housing Act.
“They can call themselves a Christian college,” Allred told reporters, “but they have to comply with the laws of the state of California, which prohibit discrimination on account of gender, marital status and pregnancy, and with the California constitution, which guarantees the right of privacy.”
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