EL CAJON – A lawsuit against San Diego Christian College alleges discrimination on account of gender, pregnancy and marital status.
Teri James, 29, said she was fired from the college in October after becoming pregnant out of wedlock.
“I was an unmarried, pregnant woman,” said James. “And they took away my livelihood. They stripped me of my dignity and humiliated me. I not only lost my source of income and my health insurance to care for myself and my baby through my pregnancy, but I also lost my career and my community.”
James said the school told her she was fired for having premarital sex.
The Christian College does require all employees to sign a “community covenant,” which is posted on the employment portion of the website.
The covenant states: “The traits that should not inhabit our lives are identified as abusive anger; malice; jealousy; lust; sexually immoral behavior including premarital sex, adultery, pornography, and homosexuality; evil desires; prejudice based on race, sex, or socioeconomic status; greed; idolatry; slander; profanity; lying; drunkenness; thievery; and dishonesty.”
“San Diego Christian College took it into their own hands to judge me for my actions,” said James. “I do not believe that this is their job but God’s. I do not believe that God would want me to be without a job or health care during my pregnancy.”
Attorney Gloria Allred, who is representing James, contends the college is a business and must follow state law in regards to discrimination.
“Although the defendant calls itself San Diego Christian College,” said Allred. “It is a business registered with the California Secretary of State. As such it is governed by the California Constitution and laws of California and we contend that it is not permitted to terminate an employee because the college thinks that pre-marital sex leading to pregnancy is wrong.”
Allred also questioned how the college would apply the rules to male employees.
“How would they know a man’s having premarital sex?” asked Allred. “The way they know a woman is having premarital sex is if she’s not married, and she’s pregnant and she’s showing.”
To complicate the matter, James said the baby’s father was offered a job at S.D.C.C. after she was fired. She said the school knew he was the father and, thus, that he had also engaged in pre-marital sex.
James is now married to the baby’s father, Brandon James. They are expecting a boy.
S.D.C.C. Dean of Administration and Finance Robert Jensen said the school is not commenting at this time and is going to let the legal system run its course.