A San Diego woman is suing a Christian school after they fired her for being pregnant.
Teri James, 29, was asked by her employer point-blank if she was pregnant, and when she confirmed her pregnancy, she was promptly fired and asked to leave the building immediately.
James was unmarried when she was hired as a financial aid specialist at San Diego Christian College. Because she needed a job and did not have many other options, she signed the school’s contract before she was hired, stating that she would abide by their moral codes.
The school’s moral codes include abstaining from premarital sex.
She said her dismissal was humiliating, especially since the school offered her boyfriend a job prior to her firing.
James had worked at the college for two years before she became pregnant. She said the school knew that her boyfriend also engaged in premarital sex before they offered him a job.
While he did not take the job, she was required to vacate the building right after she met with her supervisor.
“I had to go into the office with all my co-workers and say I’m leaving,” James said. “I never came back, so I don’t know what my co-workers thought, but for me it was humiliating. I felt like I was in trouble.”
Gloria Allred, a high-profile women’s rights attorney, has signed on to the case. She has filed a lawsuit against the school in San Diego County’s superior court.
Although the college has not commented, James's termination letter states that she was fired for engaging in activity “that does not build up the college’s mission.”
In the “community covenant,” employees and students must agree to stay away from drugs, alcohol, tobacco, abusive anger, malice, jealousy, lust, sexually immoral behavior, adultery, pornography and homosexuality.
“It does not say that you will be fired if you do not comply,” Allred said.
Allred knows the college will try to argue that it has the right to fire James because it is a Christian organization, but she plans to argue that the termination is illegal because the school is a business.
James said the school’s actions are “hurtful and un-Christ like.”
“I was unmarried, pregnant and they took away my livelihood,” James said. “San Diego Christian College did not show any mercy or grace towards me.”