A Christian school claiming it sacked a teacher for having premarital sex will have to defend itself before a jury against pregnancy discrimination claims.On Wednesday, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the teacher, Jarretta Hamilton, had produced evidence that Southland Christian School Inc. was more bothered by her pregnancy than her out-of-wedlock sex.
A lower court had dismissed her pregnancy bias suit, but the 11th Circuit found that she had enough evidence to move forward with the case.
Southland claimed it fired Hamilton for her having sex with a man who wasn’t her husband. And the 11th Circuit acknowledged Wednesday that federal law does not protect workers right’ to premarital sex.
However, the law does protect those workers’ right to get pregnant, the court found.
The school had claimed it fired her for “disobeying the word of God” by having premarital sex, according to one school official, the appeals court opinion noted.
In its brief filed in the 11th Circuit, Southland said it had a right “to enforce upon its staff what it believes to be the moral conduct imposed by the Holy Bible in its employment decisions.”
But Hamilton testified that a school official had told her that “premarital conception” was part of the reason she was axed, according to the 11th Circuit.
Lawyers for both sides were not immediately available for comment Wednesday.
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