San Diego, California — A former staff member at a Christian college in California has filed a lawsuit against her employers for firing her for having sexual relations outside of marriage, stating that the college’s actions were “un-Christlike.”
Teri James, 29, worked as a financial aid specialist at San Diego Christian College in El Cajon until October of last year when she admitted to the school’s human resource director that she was pregnant. According to reports, rumors had been circulating on campus that the single woman might be with child, and therefore, she sought to put an end to the speculations.
However, upon being informed of the matter, the human resource director presented an ultimatum: resign or be fired. James was later given a termination notice that stated that she “engaged in activity outside the scope of the handbook and community covenant.”
San Diego Christian Christian College requires that all of its employees sign a lifestyle statement committing to live in a manner that is consistent with Biblical values, which includes abstaining from fornication. James admits to signing the statement, but still believes that her termination was unlawful. She hired renowned feminist attorney Gloria Allred to represent her in the courts.
“Teri engaged in activity outside the scope of the handbook and community covenant that does not build up the college’s mission,” Allred acknowledged. “The HR director indicated that she was not being fired because she was pregnant. Instead, she was being terminated because she had premarital sex.”
During a press conference this week, James broke down in tears over the matter, claiming that the school has caused her harm.
“I feel like what San Diego Christian College did to me was hurtful and un-Christlike,” she stated. “I was unmarried, pregnant and they took away my livelihood.”
“San Diego Christian College did not show any mercy or grace towards me, and acted completely un-Christlike,” James added. “They made more of a business decision than showing God’s love.”
Allred asserted that although the college is a Christian institution, it cannot terminate employees based on their private lives. She said that officials have no business in knowing what James is doing outside of the work environment.
“They can call themselves a Christian college, but they have to comply with the laws of the state of California, which prohibit discrimination on account of gender, marital status and pregnancy, and with the California constitution, which guarantees the right of privacy,” Allred told reporters.
Therefore, James is suing San Diego Christian College for wrongful termination and invasion of privacy.
College officials are not commenting on the matter at this time as per the advice of their attorney.
James has since married and is expecting a boy in June.
As previously reported, a number of women formerly employed at Christian colleges, universities and other schools across America sued their employers last year for discrimination after they were terminated following their admission of engaging in premarital sex.