Fired San Diego college employee files suit claiming pregnancy discrimination

A former San Diego Christian College employee is filing a lawsuit after being fired for an out-of-wedlock pregnancy.

Katie Nelson, Writer

The recent dismissal of an employee at San Diego Christian College in El Cajon has resulted in the launch of a massive court case claiming wrongful termination, according to a recent article by NBC Los Angeles. Teri James, a former employee in the SDCC financial aid office, filed a lawsuit on Feb. 14 against the school after she was fired for becoming pregnant outside of marriage.

San Diego Christian, which competes with Biola in the Golden State Athletic Conference, requires all of its employees to sign and abide by a community covenant consisting of various behaviors to be avoided — including premarital sex.

Biola employee code of conduct and out-of-wedlock pregnancy

Biola has a similarly structured employee standard of conduct which specifically speaks against “fornication” and other acts traditionally considered sexual sin within Christianity.

“These principles of the SDCC Community challenge each of us to practice Christian character and integrity through principles established by scripture and guidelines developed through SDCC traditions,” the San Diego Christian document states.

The college’s public relations department did not return phone calls made by the Chimes.

Biola’s senior director of human resources, Ron Mooradian, explained that Biola’s employee code of conduct does not deem an out-of-wedlock pregnancy itself to be sinful, but rather the circumstances in which it came about.

“The fact that she was pregnant is almost irrelevant to us, but the fact that she was involved in sex outside of marriage would be where we would be concerned about, and we would have the same concerns if we found out a male employee was engaged in that behavior.”

"We would more than likely not terminate their employment."

Although he did not want to comment on San Diego Christian’s decision to dismiss James from her position, Mooradian did outline what Biola’s response to a staff or faculty member breaking the standard of conduct would be.

“If the person is genuinely repentant and agrees to separate themselves from the behavior [and not have premarital sex anymore], we would more than likely not terminate their employment,” he said.

Mooradian gave the example of a former Biola employee who was discovered to be cohabiting with her boyfriend and was given the option of moving out or leaving her post. He said the employee understood the choice and did what she thought was best by resigning.

The goal of changing sinful behavior

Despite the fact that Biola does not allow blatant disregard for the standards of conduct, Mooradian was quick to point out that the school does not seek to condemn staff or students.

“To me, what’s important is that we would focus on the sinful behavior with the goal of changing that behavior,” he said. “We’re looking for people who are striving to live the Christian life, and are willing to submit to God’s will when they make a mistake.”

In addition to the inflammatory subject matter, the James case has gained extra exposure since it was picked up by civil rights lawyer Gloria Allred, joining a slew of other infamous cases Allred has argued — most notably representing the Nicole Brown Simpson family during the O.J. Simpson murder trial in the mid-1990s.

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