Lifestyle contracts complicate teacher relationships
March 8, 2013
Under state and federal law employers cannot discriminate against a woman for being pregnant. Simple as that…or is it? What if the employee signs an employment agreement that states that she will not participate in certain activities, one of them being premarital sex? This might sound like an unusual agreement to sign, but it might be a lot more common than you’d think.
When it comes to religious private schools, some employment agreements for teachers do in fact contain clauses that state that the unwed teachers will not participate in sex before marriage or in other listed behaviors such as drinking in public. But how do these contracts affect employment disputes? The law isn’t always clear on the subject from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.
A pregnancy is not something that is easily hidden for most, and teachers across the country have been terminated under these types of contracts. A recent case involves a teacher who signed such a contract and was brought into her supervisor’s office where she was terminated after admitting that she was pregnant with her fiancé’s child.
The woman admitted to signing a contract saying that she would not participate in extramarital sex, but the extra complication in this case is that the school then hired the fiancée — her now husband – for the exact same position she was fired from. The woman has filed a lawsuit against the Christian school where she once worked. The judge has not made a ruling in this case over how the agreement will affect the case with a trial date set for March 19.
Source: The Huffington Post, “Teri James, Pregnant Woman Allegedly Fired For Premarital Sex, Sues Christian School,” Katherine Bindley, March 1, 2013
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