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2 Bumps

Fired Ohio teacher violated contract

CINCINNATI (AP) - An Archdiocese of Cincinnati official who recommended firing a teacher who became pregnant through artificial insemination has told jurors the teacher violated her contract.

The human resources director testified Wednesday in the trial over the teacher's lawsuit against the archdiocese and two of its schools. William Hancock says Christa Dias (DEYE'-us) was discharged because she violated a contract she signed to uphold teachings of the Catholic church.

Hancock says premarital sex and artificial insemination violate Catholic doctrine. He says he would recommend firing a male employee for impregnating an unmarried woman or participated in artificial insemination.

Dias tearfully testified earlier Wednesday. She contends she was fired in 2010 because she was pregnant and unmarried.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

A teacher fired from Catholic schools after becoming pregnant through artificial insemination told jurors Wednesday she didn't know that the procedure violated church doctrine or that she could be fired for it.

Christa Dias sued the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati and the schools over her dismissal, contending they fired her simply because she was pregnant and unmarried. Her attorney, Robert Klingler, told a federal jury in opening statements that the firing violated federal law prohibiting pregnancy discrimination.

Testifying on the second day of trial, Dias choked up at times and wiped tears from her eyes as she described her shock at being fired in 2010.

The archdiocese's attorney, Steve Goodin, previously denied any discrimination and told jurors Dias was fired for violating a contract that required her to abide by Catholic doctrine. The archdiocese has said artificial insemination violates that doctrine and is immoral.

Dias said she is a Christian but not Catholic and was told that didn't matter when she was hired. She said she thought the contract clause requiring compliance with church philosophies meant she should try "to be a Christian woman and follow the Bible."

Her lawsuit alleges church policy is not enforced equally against men and women. A man formerly employed in youth ministry at a suburban Dayton parish within the archdiocese testified in a sworn video deposition Tuesday. He said some church officials were aware that he and his wife used artificial insemination when they were trying to have a child and that he was not fired or disciplined.

The archdiocese has argued Dias was a ministerial employee and the Supreme Court has said religious groups can dismiss those employees, but Klingler insists Dias had no ministerial duties.

Dias' attorney also stressed Tuesday that Dias, who is gay, had always known she wanted to have a child and decided to get pregnant through artificial insemination. Klingler opened the trial by showing jurors a photo of Dias' now 2-year-old daughter.

Dias loved her job teaching computer classes at the schools and believes she is "a good teacher and a good moral person," he said.

While Dias' lawsuit does not claim that she was fired over her sexual orientation, Goodin noted that "the evidence will show that Dias never really intended to abide by the contract." He said she kept the fact that she was gay a secret because she knew the church doesn't approve of homosexual acts.

"That all goes to her credibility," he said.

Goodin also said the lawsuit is "about money, plain and simple" and the evidence will show that Dias is not entitled to any damages.

Dias is seeking unspecified damages to cover lost wages and "for the pain and emotional stress" caused by the firing, Klingler said.

The case, viewed as a barometer on the degree to which religious organizations can regulate employees' lives, is the second lawsuit that's been filed in the last two years against the archdiocese over the firing of an unmarried pregnant teacher.

 

Does she have every right to sue? Or was the school in the right since it is private and have their own st of rules? What are your thoughts?

 
LostSoul88

Asked by LostSoul88 at 4:48 PM on May. 29, 2013 in Religious Debate

Level 40 (119,476 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (11)
  • Fighting the "logic" of the Catholic Church is an exercise in futility. They fire teachers for having children out of wedlock, & for being gay, while giving no consideration for their credentials or abilities as educators. Even tho we have federal laws against such discrimination, they can get away with it. In addition, OH is an at will state, so it's an uphill battle for employees as it is. They also disallowed a 2nd grade girl's 1st communion b/c she needed a gluten-free host due to her allergies, & b/c the symbolic gesture wasn't like the other hosts, it didn't count. I just don't get it.

    mrsmom110

    Answer by mrsmom110 at 8:47 PM on May. 29, 2013

  • She signed the contract, knowing what it contained. And yes, since the school is private and receives no government funding, they get to make their own rules. So no to the suing
    however, that does not mean I agree with the contract or the Catholic church.. but she read it and signed it
    Sekirei

    Answer by Sekirei at 5:02 PM on May. 29, 2013

  • she signed a contract, its her own fault for not reading it before hand. i may not agree with the Church's stance, but they covered the basis with the contract (if it lays everything out clearly). i dont think she falls under the "ministerial employee" rule since she only taught computers, but it all goes back to the contract.
    okmanders

    Answer by okmanders at 5:19 PM on May. 29, 2013

  • I'm curious about this statement:
    While Dias' lawsuit does not claim that she was fired over her sexual orientation, Goodin noted that "the evidence will show that Dias never really intended to abide by the contract." He said she kept the fact that she was gay a secret because she knew the church doesn't approve of homosexual acts.

    Is there evidence she was dating women? If not, it shouldn't be relevant.

    The wording in the contract should really settle the issue. She signed it.
    anng.atlanta

    Answer by anng.atlanta at 5:31 PM on May. 29, 2013

  • If I sign a lawful contract, I am bound by that contract until both parties agree to change it.
    She actually entered into the agreement knowing full well she was not going to abide by it. If she was in a homosexual relationship at the time of signing, she knowingly entered into the contract under false pretenses, which is in and of itself a firable offence. She should not have a leg to stand on.
    Dardenella

    Answer by Dardenella at 9:12 PM on May. 29, 2013

  • I suppose if she really did sign a contract to uphold Catholic doctrine if it can be shown that artificial insemination is a violation of Catholic doctrine, not just in her case but in other cases, then fair is fair. But I'm just flabbergasted that artificial insemination is a violation of any doctrine, for goodness sake. It's not like prostitution or premarital sex that have been under scrutiny for centuries; it's the intentional creation of a human life. Just wow.
    Ballad

    Answer by Ballad at 11:33 PM on May. 29, 2013

  • Good lesson on reading everything thoroughly and be sure you understand it before you sign.
    As a private school, they have every right to create their own set of rules and ignoring those rules isn't an excuse to get away by breaking them.
    momto2boys973

    Answer by momto2boys973 at 11:39 AM on May. 30, 2013

  • "what about the fact another worker there and his wife did the same thing but he wasn't fired?"

    thats wrong, and she can easily prove they are doing it just to her, but that doesnt negate her contract. just makes the church look bad. they could always say they fired her just for being unmarried and that part of the case is thrown out.
    okmanders

    Answer by okmanders at 5:21 PM on May. 29, 2013

  • I would have to see the contract and the specific wording as the determining factor in this case.
    KristiS11384

    Answer by KristiS11384 at 6:06 PM on May. 29, 2013

  • As a private school, they have every right to create their own set of rules and ignoring those rules isn't an excuse to get away by breaking them.

    LOL, as a private school, they are still bound by State and Federal labor laws, and aren't allowed to enact rules that are ILLEGAL.
    NotPanicking

    Answer by NotPanicking at 5:49 PM on May. 30, 2013

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