Pregnant and single is OK, jury decides

Jurors side with fired Catholic school teacher in Ohio who was artificially inseminated
Associated Press
Jun 4, 2013

 

A Catholic school teacher who was fired after she became pregnant through artificial insemination was awarded more than $170,000 Monday after winning her anti-discrimination lawsuit against an Ohio archdiocese.

A federal jury found that the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati discriminated against Christa Dias by firing her in October 2010.

Dias, who taught computer classes, declined to comment immediately after the verdict but said later in a telephone interview with The Associated Press that she was "very happy and relieved."

The jury said the archdiocese should pay a total of $71,000 for back pay and compensatory damages and $100,000 in punitive damages. Dias had sued the archdiocese and two of its schools; the jury didn't find the schools liable for damages.

Dias' attorney, Robert Klingler, had argued she was fired simply because she was pregnant and unmarried, a dismissal he said violated state and federal law. He had suggested damages as high as $637,000, but Dias said she was satisfied with the jury's award.

"It was never about the money," she said. "They should have followed the law and they didn't."

Steven Goodin, the attorney for the archdiocese and the schools, had argued Dias was fired for violating her contract, which he said required her to comply with the philosophies and teachings of the Catholic church. The church considers artificial insemination immoral and a violation of church doctrine.

"We gave always argued that this case was about a contract violation and should never have been allowed to come to trial," Goodin said after the verdict.

He said that while he was disappointed in the finding against the archdiocese, he was relieved the schools were not held liable, saying that would have proven a financial hardship for them.

Archdiocese spokesman Dan Andriacco said after court that for the archdiocese, it was always "a matter of principle" and about "an employee who broke a contract she signed."

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

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

The archdiocese had argued prior to trial that Dias was a ministerial employee and that the Supreme Court has said religious groups can dismiss those employees without government interference. But Klingler insisted Dias had no such duties, and the court found that she was not a ministerial employee.

Klingler said the case shows jurors are willing to apply the law "even to churches and religious organizations when non-ministerial employees are discriminated against."

Goodin said he thinks the verdict could result in churches and religious organizations making their contracts "lock in" employees so specifically that it could be "hard to bring these types of lawsuits in the future."

While Goodin said a decision would be made later on whether to appeal, legal experts believe it will definitely end up in an appeals court.

Issues they believe could be raised include how to define a ministerial employee and how to resolve the conflict between religious employers' rights versus the rights of women seeking to reproduce.

Dias also has claimed that the church policies are not enforced equally against men and women.

Goodin argued that Dias, who is gay, never intended to abide by her contract. She kept her sexual orientation a secret because she knew that homosexual acts also would violate that contract, he said.

Neither Dias nor the archdiocese claim she was fired because she is gay, and the judge told jurors that they could not consider sexual orientation in determining motivating factors for the firing.

Dias, formerly from suburban Cincinnati, now lives in Atlanta with her partner and their 2-year-old daughter.

Dias said she pursued the lawsuit "for the sake of other women" who might find themselves in a similar situation. She also said she filed it for "my daughter's sake, so she knows it's important to stand up for what's right."

Comments

vicariouslyAlive

... ok, so im in no way a super religious person... god, no god, what ever, believe what you will..

but...

if you're going to choose to work for company, you should have to play by their rules. she works for a catholic school, she should have to follow the catholic rules. what she did was a slap in the face of not only the institution the cuts her a pay check, but then had the opposing side grant her permission to under mind her employer... i thought there was a separation between the church and the state, so im trying to fathom how the state could preside over a religious matter...

all places of business have a code of conduct somewhere in the rule books, and when working for a religious institution you'd have to assume that the code of conduct rule book would basically be the bible right?

basically this woman went fishing for a lawsuit and landed a giant catch...

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

I think this case is more about contractual law than church vs. state (or vice versa). To use a local example, think of Cedar Point and their dress policy. You can absolutely hate theme parks and still work there, but if Cedar Point doesn't outline their dress policy to you at orientation, in HR, or have supervisors/management enforce it and you are fired for having a tattoo showing then who is at fault? It's not illegal to have a tattoo, yet you violated a policy that was never clearly defined.

In this case could it have been a misinformed choice for a homosexual, non-Catholic to sign an agreement to abide by that faith's terms for employment? Yes, perhaps. But so too would it be the entity for not clearly screening and/or outlaying their policies to their prospects. While I am not a lawyer (but I bet I could play one on TV, any recruiters?!) I would suspect that unless she went into this to intentionally defraud the church or violate its contract it was otherwise made in - no pun intended - good faith that she could work in the environment presented to her.

Also, there can only be so much separation between a religious organization and the law of the land. Every once in a while you see stories about families charged with crimes against their children for simply trying to pray the leukemia away instead of seeking proper medical care. Or why it is still illegal to go on a peyote-fueled spirit journey in a sweat lodge as hallucinogenics tend to confer negative social effects like biting the faces off of people.

Kelly

Yes, having a baby is such a slap in the face

Finn Finn

No dear, you've missed the point. Artificial insemination is a violation of Church doctrine, and THAT is a slap in the Church's (her employer's) face. She should work at a public school, and allow the private, religious, non-government funded schools to run their schools as they wish. Everyone wants a piece of the Catholic Church nowadays.

Kelly

I didn't miss a thing. She did nothing wrong.

Finn Finn

Again, she was fired because she violated the contract she signed with the school which required her to comply with the teachings of the Catholic Church regarding artificial insemination. You are confusing this sequence of events with YOUR PERSONAL OPINION regarding artificial insemination. Have a nice day.

Kelly

Again, the court found she did nothing wrong.

Finn Finn

Your intial comment was "Yes, having a baby is such a slap in the face." Thus, the commentary / exchange which followed was to make clear to you that the lawsuit was filed because she violated her employment contract by being artifically inseminated, not because she had a baby. Continue to have a nice day. ^_^

Kelly

No she didn't violate anything. That's why she won.

Finn Finn

The Catholic Church considers artificial insemination a violation of Church doctrine. She signed an employment contract whereby she agreed to abide by Church doctrine. She then was artificially inseminated. Without the discrimination defense, please explain to me how the court came to its ruling. I

chongo

Well is that the Catholic Church that hides/harbors/covers up all the kid touching? Is that the same church? Don't think they can really say much in the world anymore.. Organized Religion is not to be trusted any longer!

The Big Dog's back

Does this same philosophy of yours apply to union shops too? You know, follow the union by laws?

thinkagain's picture
thinkagain

… she filed it for "my daughter's sake, so she knows it's important to stand up for what's right."

In other words, “no matter how wrong you are, you can always convince yourself and others that you are right.”

“It is not truth that matters, but victory.”
― Adolf Hitler

Kelly

But she wasn't wrong

Finn Finn

* See above.

Kelly

There's nothing wrong with what she did

Nemesis

Kelly, she signed a contract, and broke it. While your personal feelings apparently don't believe people should abide by contracts they sign, the law of the land says otherwise.

eriemom

There is no enforceable contract unless there is a meeting of the minds. That did not happen in this case.

Finn Finn

Your contract law interpretation is flawed. The Church was not required to make sure she was educated in Catholic doctrine prior to her signing a contract. That is something she should have looked into herself, as one would do before signing any contract. It would appear she certainly knew enough to keep her homosexuality a secret until she could use it to her advantage. This woman is not stupid. She clearly did as she wanted to do and to he!! with the employment contract. She wanted the job but didn't want to play by her employer's rules.

Kelly

The court didn't agree.

Finn Finn

Wrong again Kelly. The court did not find that there was no "meeting of the minds", thus making the contract unenforceable. The Court found that the Archdiocese "discriminated against Christa Dias by firing her in October 2010". Her own attorney even argued that she was fired because she was "pregnant and umarried", not because the employment contract was unenforceable because there was no "meeting of the minds." Capish?

Kelly

She won

Finn Finn

Wow, what an insightful comment. ^_^

Kelly

Mmhmmm

Finn Finn

quick too!!!

Kelly

Mmhhhhmmm

Finn Finn

You still haven't answered my question at 4:39.

Kelly

I don't have to answer anything. I have no idea why you can't understand such a simple concept. She won. It is right there in the first paragraph.

Finn Finn

If you want to make comments on this board, you should know what you're talking about. You don't have a clue, do you.

Kelly

Pot meet kettle

Finn Finn

Come on Kelly, explain how the court came to its ruling. Show us your legal brilliance.

Kelly

I have no clue why you are trying to pick a fight where there is none. The fact is, the court ruled in her favor. How they came to that has nothing to do with me but they DID rule in her favor. Take it up with them if you think it's wrong.

Finn Finn

Now try to concentrate dear. Your first comment on this subject was "Yes, having a baby is such a slap in the face" as though this lawsuit was about her having a baby. Clearly, you don't understand what this case is about. Now you spent your whole day trying to cover your tracks regarding that comment. I'm just trying to clarify.

Kelly

Cover my tracks? Hahaha!
"Pregnant and single is OK, jury decides"
It is right there in the headline. There was nothing wrong with her having a baby and she shouldn't have been fired. That's why she won.

Finn Finn

Clearly, your information gathering skills stop at the headlines. Although you did unintentionally answer my question. "There was nothing wrong with her having a baby" was definitely NOT the issue in this case and "she shouldn't have been fired. That's why she won" doesn't explain the decision.

Nemesis

It's pointless, Finn, she has a kindergartener's understanding of the law.

bigdad1205

Well maybe they should make a clearer statement. To follow the catholic laws is pretty vague. So by past actions allowed by the church she would have been fine molesting young boys just not getting pregnant a nontraditional way.

Nemesis

Canon law is posted online in many places. Ignorance is not an excuse.

eriemom

So, should all pedophile/gay priests be fired? In this case there is a clear understanding of Catholic doctrine. To compare the two, woman v male priest, would show disparate enforcement. A clear sex discrimination case.

Finn Finn

One more time - she wasn't fired for her sexual orientation. She was fired because she violated her employment contract.

FYI - the Catholic Church does not "ban" homosexuals from the Church. The Church simply encourages homosexuals to live celibately, same as they encourage single heterosexual persons.

eriemom

I didn't compare sexual orientation. I compared the discrimination between sexes, man v woman.

Gender discrimination takes place when a woman is treated differently from male counterparts. In this case it was specific to pregnancy. Pregnancy cannot be used to fire an employee--federal civil rights.

There is another case working its way through the legal system. A Catholic (?)teacher was fired after her mother passed away. The local newspaper included information in the mother's obituary about the teacher's long time partner (lesbian).

Finn Finn

Federal law allows religious organizations and employers privilege under certain conditions to regulate the behavior of their employees without committing civil rights violations. The decision in a certain appeal may ride on the question of whether she was a ministerial employee.

Nemesis

Failures to follow policy are not indictments of the policy.

eriemom

No, but only following policy when using it to fire a woman while not doing the same when the employee is male, is a problem.

Watch what happens in the Perkins School district (coach).

Nemesis

Yes, and no. Religious bodies are clearly allowed to discriminate on the basis of gender, as women cannot be priests or imams. Now, if it can be shown that the doctrines equally prohibit the conduct in question to both men and women, and that the doctrine was applied inconsistently on the basis of gender, you MAY have a case, but not always. For instance, the Koran specifies different penalties for men and women for the same sin, and, if I recall correctly, so does the Torah. There are aboriginal religions that do so as well.

Nemesis

"So, should all pedophile/gay priests be fired? In this case there is a clear understanding of Catholic doctrine."

No there isn't. Different situations AND different doctrines.

First of all, it's not a matter of BEING gay or pedophile, it's a matter of ACTING on that status. Since priests are required to be celebate, doctrine requires them to refrain from indulging their sexual appetites regardless of the flavor they favor. In this case, this woman's desires are not the issue, her conduct is.

Second, there is the doctrinal question. While priests may be disciplined, in theory, they cannot be "fired" - one becomes a priest through a sacrament, and sacraments cannot be rescinded or "taken back." Although there was a recent scandal regarding widespread failures to administer appropriate discipline in these cases, steps have been taken to remedy this.

arnmcrmn

Why follow rules anymore? Just do what you want and get a lawyer that will get you in front of a liberal judge who will side with you and give you a bunch of money.

What suffering did this lady have?

eriemom

Lost wages and benefits while unemployed.

gene44870

Now this is something that should never have taken place , If the women wants to have kids , thats between her and her higher power and should not be judged by anyone but her higher power ,I am glad this turned out the way it did

Kelly

Exactly

Finn Finn

No one is judging. She violated her contract. I'm sure you and Kelly understand exactly what this case is about. It's just your opportunity to take digs at the Catholic Church.

your master

I think the church is doing a fine job of making itself look bad all on its own.

Finn Finn

Billions of Catholics around the world would disagree. The Church has done far more good in the world than evil. But there will always be those eager to take a swipe whenever they can.

gene44870

I am not saying that Church isnt doing good , cause they are doing great things , and I dont want you to think that I am .Its just that they might just be wrong when they do things that they do , its not me to judge , its just my opionion and I like everyone else on here has the right to , wrong or right
Who says that the church is right anyway ? I dont recall anything in the good book that says that a women can not have a child even if its the way she went about it .If it is wrong then she will find out when she meets her God and its not right for the church to judge what she does with her body

your master

You are wrong.

Kelly

I have no problem with the Catholic Church at all.I have NEVER taken a dig at the church. We are members of St. Mary's. She did nothing wrong or the court wouldn't have agreed.

Finn Finn

Let's not pretend that calling oneself Catholic somehow makes that person incapable of Catholic bashing. Your comment is here nor there. The court found that she was discriminated against. It did not take a position on artificial insemination.

Kelly

Exactly because she did nothing wrong

Finn Finn

she didn't do anything wrong with regard to what?

gene44870

who knows if the church is right or wrong ? Its something that I think should be between her and her God just like we will never know if the court was right or wrong in what they decided . Who knows they maybe wrong , Its really confusing to have a court decide on this cause its man {or women } just like us that are deciding on this
And we could be wrong and at the same token we all could be right

eriemom

No, Fin, not a dig at the Catholic church or religion. Even the diocese must follow civil federal law. A person cannot sign a contract that goes against civil rights laws.

Finn Finn

You are oversimplifying. "Civil Rights Laws" is not all encompassing. Like just about every other law, there are clear exceptions. See above at 8:27.

mojorising

Pretentious much?

Finn Finn

Sections 702, 703 Civil Rights Act.

mojorising

I was implying overall. A general observation on how you address people.

Finn Finn

And we will all bow down to your superiority complex.

swiss cheese kat

More like the opportunity to look like dumba$$es.

Nemesis

When she signed the contract, she added a party to that list of her and her higher power. She agreed to be held to their standard.

If you go to work for a church school, and that church teaches that strawberry jam is evil, you can be legally fired for what you had for lunch last week.

eriemom

True, but there is no civil law about eating strawberry jam.

Personally I think that we should all love, eat, and have free access to chocolate. I can sign a contract that states that my employer must give me chocolate at my request.

Nemesis

Yes you can, and they can also have you sign one that says you will not EVER eat chocolate, or you can be fired.

Eating strawberry jam is a choice about what to do with your body, same as what this woman did.

eriemom

Still fits my example. There are no laws that protect my right to eat chocolate. If I signed a contract that prohibited me from eating chocolate, and I did it any way, my employer (with proof that would stand up in court) could fire me.

I could not be fired for being pregnant.

Nemesis

There is no law that specifically guarantees your right to pregnancy. If there were, you could invoke it to compel someone to impregnate you. Both eating chocolate and being pregnant are rights protected from infringement BY STATE ACTORS by the 9th and 10th amendments.

eriemom

Under the laws enforced by EEOC, it is illegal to discriminate against someone (applicant or employee) because of that person's race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. It is also illegal to retaliate against a person because he or she complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit.(EEOC website)

Nemesis

And those laws are limited by a ministerial exception for religious organizations, supported by ample Supreme Court precedents, because of a little thing we call the FIRST AMENDMENT.

Constitution trumps act of Congress.

SamAdams

If this was legitimately between her and a higher power, how come man made technology had to assist her, eh?

eriemom

The decision to use the technology was her choice. You know, that free choice clause that Christians talk about.

thinkagain's picture
thinkagain

“You know, that free choice clause that Christians talk about.” Say what???

Would you care to elaborate on your thought process behind that simplistic statement?

If free will does not exist, then the world is irrelevant, life has no meaning or value and morality doesn’t exist.

Nemesis

More to the point, they exercised their free choice not to associate with her. The right to do something is not the right to have the approval, friendship, or association of others who disagree.

Nemesis

More to the point, they exercised their free choice not to associate with her. The right to do something is not the right to have the approval, friendship, or association of others who disagree.

eriemom

You just explained it for me. Having a child gave this woman's life meaning and was of value. It is not up to you or me to judge her morals. It certainly is not her employers decision to make. She taught technology; not religion.

Nemesis

I never said anything about judging her morals.
Your or my judgment of her morals is IRRELEVANT. Her employer is an expressive organization with a message to promote, and the ability to advance that message through both words and conduct is an essential component of the job.

ALL the teachers at that school are required to be role models, regardless of the subject matter they teach - role models not of their own personal values, but those of the organization.

Nemesis

It's a lower level judge and an ignorant emotional jury. Any appeals will be decided by higher ranking judges who will look only at the law, and the precedent is pretty clear. In the prior case, despite the administration weighing in heavily against the church, the Supreme Court voted NINE TO ZERO for broad application of the ministerial exception.

eriemom

....and we all know that the Supreme Court never makes mistakes....

Finn Finn

Roe v. Wade would be a good example of one of those mistakes.

mojorising

It may be hard to identify pretentiousness from a pretentious point of view.

Finn Finn

That's why you can't identify it.

mojorising

You degrade poor Kelly, then revert to I know you are but what am I?

Finn Finn

Please read more carefully, particularly SCREEN NAMES. I did not make that comment. Further, there was no degrading "poor" Kelly. If she doesn't have information to back up her comments, she should expect to get called on it. Why comment if you can't articulate your position?

mojorising

This is incredibly entertaining to me. Honestly review your own comments, its almost the epitome of hypocrisy.

Nemesis

I said nothing about whether they make mistakes - I addressed the likelihood that they would uphold this decision.

Nemesis

Eriemom: "....and we all know that the Supreme Court never makes mistakes...."

Suffice it to say they have a deeper understanding of the Constitution than 12 people, from a city that elected Jerry Springer, a man who paid a prostitute with a personal check, mayor while simultaneously banning dirty magazines, who were too dumb to get out of jury duty.

vicariouslyAlive

kelly, your ignorance is astounding...

this isn't a matter of a single woman being artificially inseminated and the moral qualms that come with that, it's the fact that she did it while being employed by the very people that consider that type of thing a slight against god.

science and religion have been enemies for centuries with very few exceptions, and to create a child outside the natural way is a direct slight against her employer... just like it would be for a CEO of McDonalds to open a chain of Burger kings privately...

like i said im not one to be super religious, but you can't go around and break the general code of conduct of your employer and expect there to be no ramifications... if she wanted a test tube baby, then should should have stuck with teaching in the public sector... that's all im getting at. it would have been perfectly acceptable, and wouldn't have ruffled any feathers. but the fact that her employer works for your so called "higher power" and this "higher power" has written rules in a book (some of which don' make much sense but regardless) that teacher should have had to hold to the very same standard as the rules and codes of conduct in said book...

actually what she di would have made perfect sense if say she was a science or anatomy teacher in the public school system, but to work for a religious institution and slap it in the face... wrong... just wrong...

and for those that mentioned those priests that molest kids... i do believe that they were excommunicated... which if you believe in religious teachings and all of the nonsense that goes with it, you'll see that being kicked out of the church is worse than just being fired, and that's exactly what happened to those guys.

religious or not, standards and codes of conduct by your chosen employer need to be upheld to maintain your job position... break those codes of conduct, receive the consequences.

gene44870

No employer regardless should dicktate what a person male or female does with there bodies , Plain and simple .It dont matter if he or she is working for the church or at McDonlds

vicariouslyAlive

Random drug screening is a means to control what someone puts into, therefor does, to their own body.... so before you get on your prochoice high horse, lets look at things from multiple angles instead of your singularly skewed one. I thank you.

Nemesis

Gene, employers throughout the country legally reserve the right to terminate employees for what they do with their bodies, from putting alchohol, nicotine, and other drugs into them, to the outward appearance maintained, to keeping those bodies at a given level of fitness. What you fail to realize is that, in a free country, while you have the right to make choices about your own body, other people have the right not to approve, and not to associate with you based on those choices. You seem to be laboring under the delusion that ANYONE has an obligation to give you a job - they don't. Just as you have the right to refuse to purchase a given product or service, others have the right not to purchase YOUR services.

Private organizations have the right to set their own standards for participation in their activities, and they don't have any obligation to square those standards with what Gene or Kelly thinks is right or wrong.

Kelly, what is astounding is your failure to comprehend the basic principles on which this country is founded. One of them is freedom of religion, with which you apparently have a problem. It gives people the right to believe as they wish, REGARDLESS OF HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT IT, and to form organizations devoted to those beliefs, and exclude others, not only on failing to live according to those beliefs, but even to exclude them for failing to assert those beliefs. That means, not only do they have the right to fire her for engaging in the artificial insemination, if you worked for them, they have the right to fire you for saying that what she did is OK.

The parents who send their kids to that school have the right to control to what ideas the school exposes them, including the idea that artificial insemination is acceptable. Again, they have no obligation to check with you first.

Kelly

No, dear, yours is.

vicariouslyAlive

Yeah, and I bet "I know you are but what am I" will shortly follow up your expert word play.

Nemesis

Kelly, naked assertion is not a valid rebuttal.
You've yet to articulate WHY you think others are wrong about this.

Nemesis

Hey Kelly, I know you are but what am I?

eriemom

Again, civil rights trump religious doctrine.

vicariouslyAlive

This isn't a battle against the moral high ground of religion vs. Civil rights. So you people looking to pick fights with catholocisim need to take a step back and a deep breath and realize what really is happening.

Now, I'm normally the one first in line to take a dump in the religious punch bowl, but this woman isn't guilty of being against god, she's guilty of a breech of ethics. This whole thing is going to be appealed on those grounds. She got a jury to side with her on her civil liberties, but what they won't be able to argue with is this woman's fiduciary responsibilities to uphold the codes of conduct and ethics of her employer, in which she miserably failed.

So you people damning religion can stuff it because the argument isn't about the stupidity of religious docterin... and I do mean stupidity to the fleet extent of the term. What this is about is business ethics and codes of condut. This is about laws and breeching contracts... think about the amount of stink Pepsi reps would throw if one of the chairmen of the board got caught buying stock in coke... or someone from the NAACP throwing a clan rally... both go against the fiduciary responsibilities as an employee. As silly as it may sound its truth.

I foresee either an appeal or a counter suit.

Finn Finn

Again, see comment at 8:27.

Nemesis

Eriemom, not when it comes to the internal governance of religious organizations. Freedom of association is a civil right, too.

SamAdams

I hope this is appealed and overturned. I really, REALLY don't like the precedent it sets!

This woman signed a contract stating she'd follow Catholic doctrine. Now while I realize there are some minutiae in EVERY religion that might not be obvious without close study, homosexuality and artificial insemination are NOT minutiae where the Catholic Church is concerned! The woman might as well have asked the nuns to take up a collection to pay for her abortion.

Ignorance is no excuse under the law. Try it sometime. It doesn't work! Either this woman is an idiot (and she doesn't appear to be), or she chose to confront Catholicism for reasons of her own.

I'm not going to pretend I think artificial insemination is wrong; I don't. I'm also not going to condemn homosexuality because I frankly don't care. But I'm also not going to walk over to the nearest Catholic Church and make reasonable demands that are UNreasonable under church tenets. Why not? Because THAT'S discriminatory, and just plain wrong.

eriemom

Then you would be okay with Sharia law taking precedence over federal law? No? Why not?

vicariouslyAlive

I'm pretty sure contractual law preceded both... just throwing that out there...

Finn Finn

There is a clause in the ObamaCare law that exempts certain sects of Islam from having to participate (forced to buy health insurance) because they view insurance as some sort of gambling. Again, you are oversimplifying. American law is rarely, if ever, clear or simple.

Nemesis

Eriemom, I'd be absolutely OK about it in a parallel context, i.e. a matter of internal mosque governance.

You just don't get it the difference between private and public spheres, do you? You have the right to say whatever you want, but not in my living room.

eriemom

Sure I do, and you have the right to ask me to leave or punch me in the nose. I then would have the right to charge you with assault.

Nemesis

No you wouldn't - I can use force to remove an intruder.

luvblues2

The Virgin Mary had a child. We're 'spossed to believe that because EVERY version of the Bible says so, but this woman who gets pregnant by other means than sexual relations with a man isn't OK?

Freakin' dogma and all of it's damn us to hell crap. Cram it.

your master

The school would have fired Mary too!

eriemom

Good example master.

Nemesis

Good example if one reduces complex matters of doctrine to the kindergarten level, and Mary WAS ostracized by her religious community.

vicariouslyAlive

firstly, the immaculate conception of christ probably had more to do with the terms of "perl diving" and shared bath water than the holy seed, but that just my opinion.

secondly, science being the largest of the enemies of the catholic church makes this a double whammy. 1, conception without a man and 2, conception based on science.

like i said before this woman went fishing for a lawsuit, and she landed the big catch.

the president that this sets is that anyone with a confirmed way of life can knowingly be hired by an employer, knowing that the employer's codes of conduct interfere with the individuals. what this means is when the employer seeks to terminate employment based on their code of conduct the individual can sue them.

i'll venture a guess that most of the people defending this woman aren't employers... which is why it's easy to "stick it to the man," but this has less to do with religious acceptance and more to do with setting up places for failure.

being a lesbian she had no business working for the church... that just asking for trouble to begin with. that would be like a diabetic getting hired in to be the Ben & Jerry's ice cream taste tester and then blaming the company for their condition... but these are the things we can now look forward to seeing in the news because the judicial system has now condoned setting up employers for future failure.

meowmix

I find it ironic that the tea party/neo-cons who post continuously on these boards about how THEIR Constitutional rights are being trampled on, somehow feel that this woman isn't entitled to her Constitutional rights under the Civil Rights Act--see 14th Amendment. I don't give a flying fred if it's the catholic church or whoever, if she pays taxes she's entitled to protection from discrimination.

Nemesis

Meowmix, please explain what civil right entitles you to come into a private organization and violate its founding beliefs.

The 14th Amendment requires THE GOVERNMENT to treat all citizens equally. It does not bind the actions of private entities.

People like you love to toss around the word discrimination asa totem, without comprehending its full meaning. Let's start with a very simple example - the government cannot make a law barring ugly people from the town square, or treat ugly people differently. A private citizen, though, can freely choose to discriminate against ugly people, and most do, in instances like choosing who to date. Yes, that's right, when you decide not to date someone who's hideous looking, YOU'RE DISCRIMINATING.

Americans' very first enumerated right is freedom of speech, conscience, and belief. People have a right to join together with like-minded people to promote shared beliefs. That includes the right to exclude those who do not share and/or comply with those beliefs. Should David Duke be allowed to sue the local NAACP for not appointing him as its director? Should Louis Farrakan be able to sue the local synagogue for not hiring him as a rabbi? Should Larry Flynt be able to sue NOW for not hiring him as their spokesman? Should Karl Rove be able to sue the DNC for not appointing him as chairman? Should Tim Schwanger be sued for not appointing a hotel developer as the new director of SOSP? Should the Daily Kos be forced to hire Sarah Palin as an administrator? Should GLAD be forced to appoint Fred Phelps as its director? Should the local battered women's shelter be forced to hire Ike Turner? Should MADD be forced to hire Adolph Coors?

If you want to form the Holy Vegan Order of Happy Karma, and it includes a school, and hire me to teach there with the understanding that your members don't want their kids taught by anyone who doesn't follow their precepts, then you have every right to fire me if someone sends you a cellphone video of me down at the Longhorn tearing into a juicy ribeye on a Saturday night. You could also fire Robert Mitchum for doing the "beef - it's what's for dinner" voiceover. Teachers are hired in part to be role models.

You have the right to make your own choices with your body. You do NOT have the right to force other people to pay you to represent their beliefs.

You're welcome to your opinion that the church's teaching on this matter is wrong. What you're not entitled to is tell them what they are allowed to believe.

“To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves is sinful and tyrannical.”
- Thomas Jefferson.

Minuteman

Federal jurors? Do they have more credentials than the usual jury members? It sounds like they have qualifications like a judge.

This may just be a coincidence, but so many moral organizations are under the gun lately. Anyone standing up for them gets swarmed by detractors with prepared insults and accusations. For proof, follow the catholic church in the news and see what challenge they face next. They didn't buckle under like some organizations do, but still lost due to our present social system. They had no chance of winning, and they probably knew that, and were just trying to keep up standards as long as they could. The floodgates are now open to question and repeal any other beliefs of the church.

TboneWalkerJr

CATHOLIC LUNATIC HYPOCRITES. Here is a woman unable to have kids that goes to almost the ends of the earth to procreate and they treat her like someone who gets abortions every week.

vicariouslyAlive

... I think you have the reasons why she chose artificial insemination messed up... she was gay... nothing wrong with that in and of its self... but you can't sit here and say that "she tried everything she could to precreate," when having sex with men simply didn't happen...

Like I said, a homosexual choosing artificial insemination while working for the church was a ploy she used to be able to file a lawsuit... kind of like slipping in a puddle of milk in the store that you spilled yourself... the church got conned, simple as that.

eriemom

Give me a break. She didn't do this to con the church. Her child is not incidental to the con.

Nemesis

So now you can read minds hundreds of miles away?
Impressive.

Nemesis

Tbone, perhaps you should keep your ignorance to yourself. The Catholic Church has more doctrines than just on abortions. She violated those doctrines in MULTIPLE ways. She is the real hypocrite in this - she clearly misrepresented her beliefs and went to work for an organization whose mission she clearly does not support, and is now suing becsuse they wouldn't let her continue to participate in a mission she opposes.

meowmix

HAHAHAHAH---She is a hypocrite??? EVERY- and I'm not exaggerating-EVERY Catholic I know violates the churches doctrines. You name it--divorce, adultery, practicing birth control, right down to abortion.

It never ceases to amaze me the number of hypocrites that actually admit that they are Catholic.

Nemesis

And those who you know constitute a sample of what, a hundred at most? Talk about a parochial viewpoint of the world.

Yes, she is a hypocrite. Failure to achieve one's ideals is not hypocrissy - knowingly misrepresenting them is.

vicariouslyAlive

Wait a minute.... I just thought of something...

In the article she admitted that the church school did have her sign something the stated that she would conduct herself as pare of bible law... have I g said that... then would her sexual orientation be considered fraudulently signing a contract? She was in prior breech of biblical conduct before signing said contract and having not brought that to the discussion table before signing would make her position fraudulent... would it not? Being a privitized organization the church can discriminate job postings if the perspective employee cannot uphold the initial contract... same as a person stating they can be on their feet for hours on end and lift 50 lbs and then not being able to do either when the job comes around.

eriemom

What is an "artists me"?

vicariouslyAlive

?

Blues

Think people don't read timestamps, vA?

vicariouslyAlive

I think when people no longer have a valid argument they pull at petty strings like typos to try and invalidate someone when they know full well the powers of auto-correct on cell phones.

Plus, judging by theack of response that that post was directed towards, no, I don't believe everyone understands the time stamp conundrum.

eriemom

You edited your post. Now it makes sense.

Nemesis

You mean you couldn't make it out from context?

vicariouslyAlive

Apparently they couldn't manage to use context clues to figure out their way around the typo... so I went ahead and did their hard work for them and corrected it.

All just pettyness to discredit someone.

eriemom

Actually the written statement, even using context clues didn't make any sense. I was not being petty, editing, or attacking you personally.

Nemesis

I figured it out, why couldn't you?

meowmix

There is nothing in the constitution regarding the ability to fire someone for not being able to perform their job duties. She obviously could--they fired her for being something I'd be willing to guess a large portion of their own clergy is..gay. That and her desire to have a child--my what a crime. It's not like she was a pedophile, something that the church just seems to have no problem with whatsoever.

Nemesis

Yes there is - the Ninth and Tenth Amendments - the Constitution functions as a list of things the government may do, and anything else is left as a right of the people to be enjoyed without government interference. The church has no problem with people BEING gay, only with their conduct. Similarly, they have no problem with her DESIRE to have a child - the issue is that they only approve of certain means of achieving that desire, just as the law has no problem with your desire to have a car, or a TV, etc., but the law does limit the acceptable ways you may obtain them.

sash

This case isn't about contract law or religious freedom, it's about dicrimination. The archdiocese claimed they fired her for her use of artificial insemination, which is against church doctrine, and was a violation of her contract while the plaintiff claimed her termination was based on her being unwed and pregnant. Who proved their case? The plaintiff was able to prove that the HR Director of the archdioces recommended her termination WHEN he found out she was pregnant. He didn't find out about the artificial insemination until LATER, after he'd already recommended termination. Testimony also showed that the archdiocese never attempted to determine if married teachers became pregnant naturally or through AI to uphold church doctrine. Perhaps most damaging to the case was the MALE teacher who testified that the archdiocese, church and school officials were aware of the infertility issues he and his wife were having, and their attempts(successful) to have a child using artificial insemination. The man was never even disciplined, let alone fired, for using his sperm in this immoral way, despite signing the same contract. You can not use a contract or church doctrine to punish only select members in your employ, while giving the rest of your employees a "pass" on following the rules. That's discrimination, against state and federal law, and the jury saw it for what it was. Freedom of religion does not mean "beyond the law." Apply the rules equitably and fairly, and then you can argue religious freedom.

Nemesis

Now This is the first reasoned, rational, intelligent defense of this verdict presented here, and if your account is fully accurate, then the diocese has a claim for incompetent counsel.
Being pregnant out of wedlock, unless it's due to rape, is on its face evidence of failing to adhere to church doctrine, and had they led with that, it would be a no-brainer.

She was still in violation of her contract on multiple counts without bringing up the AI, and given that the AI prohibition wasn't enforced consistently against the other teacher, their HR people were fools to mention it, since they had other adequate grounds. The verdict makes a whole lot more sense in light of this information (care to share where you got it, since we clearly can't depend on the Register for it?)

The diocese might still have a chance at appeal, if they can show they disciplined whoever fired her for stating the reasons incorrectly, but they'd have a way to go to explain why they doubled down on that in their initial defense.

Gene, Eriemom, and Meowmix - note that this does nothing to vindicate your interpretation of the prior understanding of the verdict. Kelly, you've made it clear you had no understanding, just an emotional response.

sash

I've been following this case for a long time, so I've picked up a lot of info from different sources, but the majority is from the major newspapers in the area which gave more in depth coverage. The Cincinnati papers(Enquirer. cincinnati .com) and the Lexington papers have a lot more details about the case. It's been interesting watching the tap-dancing that's gone on with this case. Her original termination cited her pregnancy and unwed state as grounds for termination, but subsequent paperwork listed the IA and breach of contract. The breach of contract was used for the denial of unemployment benefits. The archdiocese then argued that she was a ministerial employee and not protected by state or federal law, per the Supreme Court. The biggest hold up in this case, and probably their best bet on appeal, is whether or not she qualified as a ministerial employee. Judge Spiegel found that as the school technology director, she did not qualify as a ministerial employee and did have standing to sue on the basis of discrimination. The archdiocese in this case, and others, argues that any employee of the Church falls under the ministerial exemption and isn't subject to state and federal discrimination laws. Most suits filed never make it to trial because they are dismissed early based on the ministerial exception. The appeal should be interesting to see. If they let the verdict stand, the broad ministerial exemption that has been allowed in the past will be narrowed a bit and could open them to future lawsuits. I really wouldn't be surprised to see them fight this to the Supreme Court if they lose the appeal.

eriemom

The church will take it to the Supreme. The loss of this case will force the church to follow the same laws that other employers do. Can't have that. The religion is based on a male dominated hierarchical system. I can't stand watching the way that priests treat nuns.

Nemesis

So now the truth comes out. You see your own visceral hatred of the organization, based on their failure to conform to YOUR beliefs concerning gender relations, as grounds for wiping your behind with the Bill of Rights.

Don't like Catholic doctrine? Guess what? YOU DON'T HAVE TO JOIN.
That's what America is all about. It's a two way street though - you don't have to be in their club, and they don't have to let you in.

eriemom

My last statement was opinion. Not a visceral reaction or based on hatred of the church. My opinion is based on observation. My opinion does not change the outcome of this lower court decision.

Nemesis

The point being that your opinion of this decision is based on your hatred for one of the parties to the case, rather than the law, which you've amply demonstrated you don't even begin to grasp.

Nemesis

Interesting. Sash, any links would be appreciated.

These details muddy the waters even more. If they originally said it was for being pregnant out of wedlock, they should have run with that. There's a straightforward SCOTUS precendent in the Hosanna Tabor case, which was 9-0 in favor of broad ministerial exception, despite the Administration going all in against it.

The ministerial exception wouldn't apply to, say, the guy who cuts the church lawn, but all school employees to whom students are exposed are role models.

It would be interesting to read the contract, and see the degree to which the morality requirement depends on violations being readily observable by the students. Pregnancy is pretty obvious, but she could conceivably keep her lifestyle and the AI secret for her entire career.

sash

Do you really think the Hosanna Tabor decision was that straighforward? The EEOC wanted the ministerial exception to apply only to those who performed religious functions exclusively and the Court, rightly (imo) said hell no. I believe it was Roberts who said you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who qualified under that narrow definition. Roberts made it a point in the majority opinion that the Court didn't want to try to set up some rigid formula to determine when an employee would be considered a "minister" of the faith, but pointed out some of the decisive factors the Court weighed in it's decision. The teacher in this case was in fact an ordained or "commisioned" minister of the Lutheran faith, and despite the majority of her duties being nonreligious, she did perform important religious duties during the course of her day.
The Courts decision broadened the ministrial exception, making it a defense on it's merits, but it didn't close the door. What I found most interesting was the 8-1 rejection of Justice Thomas' opinion that the determination of "minister" should rely solely on the belief of the employer. Roberts made clear that the District Courts have the power to judge the exemption claim and determine whether the case is dismissed or moves forward.
One reason this case took so long was because they were waiting for the Hosanna Tabor decision before making the ministerial exception claim. The Dias case doesn't meet either of the deciding factors that the Supreme Court used in the Hosanna Tabor case so I think they have a real challenge arguing that she was in a position to promote or further the faith. This should be good. Time to break out the popcorn!

Nemesis

The challenge isn't that big - teachers are role models. That also implicates the Boy Scout precedent on their side - a religious school is an inherently expressive institution, and her conduct detracts from the consistency of their message.

My main point is that the Tabor decision was 9-0, a rarity with such a polarized court, despite the administration throwing everything they had in on the other side - they actually pressed hard for eliminating the ministerial exception outright.

eriemom

@ Nemesis: Sure it does. Again, "Under the laws enforced by EEOC, it is illegal to discriminate against someone (applicant or employee) because of that person's race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. It is also illegal to retaliate against a person because he or she complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit. (EEOC website)

This is a discrimination case. She was fired because she was pregnant. Treating her differently than males in the same situation, just adds to the case.

Justme...

eriemom, I'm not sure how I feel about this. But I am wondering if morality clauses are enforcable? You seem to think they are not. I don't know what the law says.

sash

Justme- Morality clauses are still used and enforcable, but you see them used more for individuals and less for group employees. Most CEO's, athletes with endorcement contracts and such will often have some type of morality clause or similar language because their reputation and public image can greatly affect the companies they represent. Moral clauses used to be pretty common in large companies but have rapidly disappeared because most were pretty vague and enforcement was inconsistent. Inconsistent enforcement lead to...(drum roll) discrimination law suits. You'll still see variations of "moral turpitude" in public jobs, like teachers, but most are now found with individual contracts and not large groups. It's simply too difficult to insure uniformity and the risks outweigh the benefits.

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