A teacher who worked at two Catholic schools has filed a lawsuit claiming she was fired after becoming pregnant through artificial insemination.
Christa Dias, who is suing the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and the schools over her 2010 dismissal, says she was let go simply because she was pregnant and unmarried.
Her attorney, Robert Klingler, told a jury that the firing violated federal law prohibiting pregnancy discrimination during his opening statement.
According to the archdiocese's attorney, Steve Goodin, "there was no discrimination." Goodin claims that Dias violated a contract she signed that obligated her to follow Catholic doctrine. The archdiocese has said that artificial insemination violates that doctrine and is immoral. Premarital sex would also be a violation of the doctrine, The New York Daily News reported.
Although it is not a part of the suit, Goodin says that Dias, who is gay, kept her sexual orientation a secret because she knew the church doesn’t approve of homosexuality. "That all goes to her credibility," he said. Goodin added the lawsuit is "about money, plain and simple."
Dias is not Catholic. Her lawsuit alleges that the church’s policy favors men over women and is not enforced equally between the two sexes. Her claim was supported by the sworn video deposition of a man, Jack Frazine, who was formerly employed in youth ministry at a parish within the archdiocese.
Frazine testified that some church officials were aware that he and his wife used artificial insemination when they were trying to have a child and that he was not fired or disciplined in any way. When Frazine heard about the firing of Dias, he contacted her attorney because he "thought it was unfair."
The human resources director for the archdiocese, William Hancock, testified that he would have recommend firing a male employee for impregnating an unmarried woman or participating in artificial insemination.