A California judge ruled on June 18 that a gay Catholic school teacher can move forward with his case. The teacher claims that he was the victim of wrongful termination after he lost his job because of his recent marriage to his gay partner.
According to reports, the teacher married his partner in June 2013. Just two weeks later, he was fired from his job at a Catholic high school. The termination occurred just a few days after the U.S. Supreme Court decision regarding Proposition 8 in California and after pictures of the couple’s wedding were made part of a local newspaper article. The man had taught at the school since 1998 and was the head of the English Department and the dance squad coach. He was raised to be Catholic and attended an all-male Catholic high school until he graduated. He filed his claim regarding wrongful termination on the ground of public policy, violation of state labor codes and breach of contract on March 12.
The all-girls school initially said that the man’s claim was invalid because of the separation of church and state. However, the Superior Court judge rejected this reasoning and ordered the school to file an answer within 30 days. After the man’s termination, a movement took place to protest the man’s termination, with a petition for his reinstatement ultimately getting more than 48,000 signatures.
Individuals who believe that they have been discriminated against on the basis of a characteristic that is protected by federal or state law, such as race, sex, color, religion or sexual orientation have a variety of available remedies. Because the scope of rights for gay employees has expanded recently, an employee facing such discrimination may wish to seek the advice and counsel of an employment law attorney.
Source: CBS Los Angeles, “Judge: Gay Catholic School Teacher Reportedly Fired For Marrying Partner Can Sue School“, June 18, 2014