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California woman fired for getting pregnant outside of marriage

Last week on our Los Angeles / Long Beach employment law blog we had mentioned that the California Fair Employment and Housing Act bans employers from discriminating against and harassing workers on the basis of their marital status and pregnancy. This means that employers cannot discriminate against or harass employees and job applicants who are pregnant but not married.

Although many couples choose to raise children without being married, some couples are still discriminated against in the workplace for having children outside of marriage. According to reports, an employee in Southern California was fired in October for having premarital sex and getting pregnant when she was unmarried. The former employee is now filing a gender discrimination and wrongful termination lawsuit against her employer, a Christian college.

The woman worked at San Diego Christian College. She worked as a financial aid specialist for about two years before she was terminated for getting pregnant outside of marriage. The woman was told in October that she was fired because she chose to engage in activities that went against the school's rules and guidelines for students and employees. The school claims that its employees sign an agreement when they are hired to not have premarital sex because the activity goes against Christian values. The college claims that the woman was fired because she signed the agreement and allegedly violated the agreement.

The former employee's personal choices outside of work may not have been consistent with the school's religious beliefs and practices, but the school's action to fire the employee may not have been consistent with state and federal employment and labor laws. The school is now being sued for discriminating against the woman on the basis of her gender, pregnancy and marital status. The woman's attorney claims that the school cannot legally fire workers for getting pregnant outside of marriage because pregnancy is something that is only visible with female workers and not male workers, which puts female workers at a disadvantage in the workplace.

Source: CBS Los Angeles, "Woman sues college after she allegedly was fired for becoming pregnant outside of marriage," Feb. 14, 2013

  • Our Los Angeles / Long Beach employment law firm handles a wide variety of workplace harassment, discrimination and wrongful termination claims. To learn more about our firm and practice, please visit our Long Beach Fair Employment and Housing Act lawyers page.

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