Pregnant Lesbian Teacher Wins Case Against Archdiocese

A jury has fined the Archdiocese of Cincinnati $171,000 for discriminating against a lesbian teacher who they fired from Catholic schools after she became pregnant by artificial insemination.

Christa Dias

Christa Dias

Christa Dias was fired in 2010 from her job as a computer teacher at two Catholic elementary schools: Holy Family and St. Lawrence.

According to USA Today

“The archdiocese argued that her employment contract spelled out that she must live within Catholic teachings.

“She countered, though, that she wasn’t a ‘ministerial employee’ whose responsibility included teaching religion or Catholicism.

“A jury agreed with her Monday, after deliberating about eight hours over two days, and found the archdiocese liable.

“The five-woman, three-man jury also awarded her punitive damages of $100,000, and compensatory damages of $71,000. Dias’ attorneys had asked the jury to award her $637,000.

“Dias, who is not Catholic, testified she didn’t know artificial insemination violated church doctrine or the employment agreement. She said she thought the contract clause about abiding by church teachings meant she should be a Christian and follow the Bible.”

The archdiocese had another perspective on the case:

“Steven Goodin, the attorney for the archdiocese and the schools, said Dias was fired for violating her contract and that Dias, who is gay, never intended to abide by it.

“She kept her sexual orientation a secret because she knew that homosexual acts also would violate that contract, Goodin said.

“Neither Dias nor the archdiocese claim she was fired because she is gay.”

The archdiocese has not decided to appeal the case, though, some experts feel that because the case has such wide implications for religious employment practices that an appeal is very likely.  According to The Washington Post:

“Jessie Hill, a professor of civil rights and constitutional law at Case Western Reserve University School of Law in Cleveland, believes the “ministerial exception” issue could be raised on appeal.

“The archdiocese argued before trial that Dias, who was a computer technology teacher, was a ‘ministerial employee,’ a position that has not been clearly defined by the courts.

“The Supreme Court has said religious groups can dismiss those employees without government interference. But Klingler insisted Dias had no such ministerial duties, and the Cincinnati court found she was not a ministerial employee and that the issue couldn’t be argued at trial.

“Hill said the Supreme Court has left ‘uncertainty about who is and who isn’t a ministerial employee,’ and she expects the case would be “closely watched at the appellate level.”

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry

Related articles:

May 28, 2013: Catholics, contracts and insemination suit continues, Cincinnati.com

May 29, 2013: Catholic school teacher fired after artificial insemination pregnancy takes standCBSNews.com

May 29. 2013: Archdiocese lawyers: Ex-teacher looked for ‘loopholes’Cincinnati.com

 

5 replies
  1. David J. Martin
    David J. Martin says:

    The absurdity of the Archdiocese in insisting that ALL employees must endorse Catholic doctrine is blatant. What of a person working in maintenance, bus driving – in what way would they be called upon to espouse ANY religious teachings. What of a non-Christian – does the Church have the right – even within non-catechetical teaching positions to require such absurd adherence to Catholic beliefs ? I believe it is also high time the sacred cow of tax exemption granted religious institutions be eliminated when they enter the political arena in espousing certain platforms using threats against believers who disagree with church teaching in discharging their electoral duties for constituents.

    Reply

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] teachers were fired in recent years. In 2013, the Archdiocese was forced to pay nearly $200,000 to Christa Dias, a lesbian teacher fired for becoming pregnant through artificial means. There was the  was the […]

  2. […] peacefully, unlike the recent harsh firings of LGBT Catholic school educators like Carla Hale, Christa Dias, Tim Nelson, and Mark Krolikowski, the case still highlights the dilemma that LGBT employees of […]

  3. […] in the case of Carla Hale case are more interesting now that an Ohio court rewarded a lesbian teacher fired in Cincinnati $170,000 for being unjustly fired from a Catholic high school there. Experts already speculated that […]

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