A Florida woman was fired from her fourth-grade teaching job at the private Southland Christian School for having sex before marriage, MSNBC reports. If that seems outrageous to you, then you're not alone; she's suing the school for discrimination.
Jaretta Hamilton has an 8-month-old daughter and has been married for 16 months; that means she conceived the child just one month before her nuptials. And according to her employer, that was enough of a violation to warrant her termination.
It doesn't take a Chicago employment lawyer to know that her termination most likely violates federal protections against discrimination in the workplace, which is why she filed a federal suit against the school.
But according to Jaretta Hamilton, they didn't stop there:
"When they let me go, they told the entire staff in a staff meeting that I had been fired and the reason why they let me go. And then they called all of my parents to my fourth-grade students and told them as well."
She also plans to file a lawsuit against school principal Jon Ennis on the basis that he violated her privacy.
It all started when she asked for maternity leave. She claims Jon Ennis at first complained that it was difficult for the school to provide maternity leave, even though she only requested the standard six weeks. But as the conversation progressed, he allegedly asked when she was married and quickly did the math.
While personnel at the affiliated church are in fact bound by so-called moral standards, attorney Edward Gay (representing the plaintiff) said teachers are serving a secular role and therefore governed by federal anti-discrimination protections:
"The courts have consistently ruled that a private school is just like any other employer. As long as there's more than 50 employees, they are governed by the law regarding discrimination."
School administrator Julie Ennis sent Jaretta Hamilton a letter with a request to give up the lawsuit and "consider the testimony of the Lord."