Coty Richardson, a former teacher at Northwest Christian University in Eugene, Oregon, is claiming in a lawsuit filed this week that she was fired for being pregnant but not married.
Richardson is suing the university for $600,000 over alleged pregnancy, sex and marital status discrimination, wrongful termination and breach of contract, reports The Wall Street Journal.
Richardson claims she asked Northwest Christian University officials if her maternity leave in November was going to create any scheduling problems.
Richardson says in her lawsuit that officials told her that she had violated their “faith-based standards” and would have to marry the father of her baby or break up with him if she wanted to keep her job.
A “mortified and crushed” Richardson says in her lawsuit that she “refused to cut ties with the father of her child and her partner of 12 years.”
Richardson claims she told school officials to stay out of her personal life, and was subsequently fired on July 28.
A university spokeswoman told The Wall Street Journal that the college wasn't going to comment.
Richardson's lawyers, HKM Employment Attorneys, posted a July 6 letter, purportedly to Richardson from Dennis R. Lindsay, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty, who said:
"Your pregnancy outside of marriage and cohabitation with the father is incompatible with NCU’s missions and goals. NCU expects its faculty to be role models for the students.
"Since your marital status is generally known and your pregnancy will become obvious to all, it will be apparent to faculty and students you have engaged in a lifestyle that docs not reflect faith based conduct consistent with NCU goals or expectations.
"In order to continue your employment, you must conform your lifestyle to reflect the faith based perspective of NCU. If you choose to cohabitate outside of marriage, your employment with NCU must end."
Richardson's lawsuit also claims Northwest Christian University did not fire male employees after their girlfriends got pregnant outside of marriage, reports The Register-Guard.