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Lawsuit accuses Calif. Christian of firing employee for premarital sex, wedlock pregnancy

February 14, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
A pregnant woman is suing a Christian college, claiming she was fired for having premarital sex. Her attorney says it's a case of wrongful termination.

Teri James isn't suing to get her job back. Her attorney, Gloria Allred, says they're suing for damages for wrongful termination and invasion of privacy.

Teri James broke down Thursday as she told her story of why she was fired from her job as a financial aid specialist at San Diego Christian College in October.

She says after rumors were going around the school that she might be pregnant, she met with her supervisor and the school's human resources director and admitted to them that she was pregnant. She says the H.R. director then gave her two options: quit or be fired.

James' attorney, Gloria Allred, says her client wasn't fired for getting pregnant. Allred claims the college fired her for violating what the school calls its "community covenant." The school calls it a set of lifestyle rules.

"Teri engaged in activity outside the scope of the handbook and community covenant that does not build up the college's mission," said Allred.

In the college's community covenant and student handbook, it states Biblical character is highly valued and desired. It says traits the school frowns upon include sexually immoral behavior, including premarital sex. It does not say what consequences there could be if someone violates the Christian college's code.

"They can call themselves a Christian college, but they have to comply with the laws of the state of California, which prohibit discrimination on account of gender, marital status and pregnancy, and with the California constitution, which guarantees the right of privacy," said Allred.

"San Diego Christian College did not show any mercy or grace towards me, and acted completely un-Christ-like," said James. "They made more of a business decision than showing God's love."

The college had scheduled an interview with San Diego's ABC station to talk about the case. The school's lawyer intervened and told the college not to talk to the media.

Teri James is married and the couple is expecting their first child, a boy, in June.


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