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Teachers accuse school of discrimination

Two teachers who previously worked at a Christian school in California have filed a wrongful-termination lawsuit against their former employer. They claim they were wrongfully discharged in 2012 when they refused to give the school information on their beliefs.

Their contracts were not renewed because they did not obtain a signed letter of reference from their church leadership. The non-denominational school operates on a for-profit basis. The educators say that they are protected by the California Fair Employment and Housing Act so the school can't discriminate against them for religious reasons since the institution operates on a for-profit basis.

In May, a judge dismissed a separate lawsuit that the school filed against the teachers because of jurisdictional issues. However, the school still plans to pursue legal action and argues they can hire staff who comply with their faith requirements.

The school's lawsuit, filed in January, said that staff knew they need to provide information on their faith and religious practices. When the teachers did not comply with the policy, they were not retained. The school's lawyer said that the educators were fully aware of this condition of employment. The lawyer for the teachers argued that no for-profit company can discriminate on the basis of religion when hiring.

When someone loses their job, discrimination can be hard to prove, as in this case where the teachers were not retained because of failure to provide specific religious information. An attorney might be able to pursue legal action against the employer. The attorney might argue for the employees' right to practice freedom of religion under California laws. Source: Huffington Post, 'Little Oaks Elementary Lawsuit: School Sues Two Former Teachers Who Refused To Prove Their Faith ," Jan. 29, 2013

Source: Ventura County Star, "Former teachers file lawsuit against Christian school", June 13, 2013

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