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Woman Says She Was Fired by Christian College for Pre-Marital Sex

SAN DIEGO (KTLA) — A woman is suing a Christian college for allegedly firing her because she engaged in premarital sex and became pregnant.

Teri James is claiming wrongful termination in her lawsuit against San Diego Christian College in El Cajon, where she worked as a financial aid specialist.

At a news conference on Thursday, James’ attorney, Gloria Allred said, “The HR director indicated that she was not being fired because she was pregnant.”

“Instead, she was being terminated because she had premarital sex.”

The 29-year-old received a termination notice stating she “engaged in activity outside the scope of the handbook and community covenant.”

The college contends that employees and some students have to sign a clause stating they won’t have pre-marital sex and will abstain from behavior inconsistent with Christian values.

James allegedly signed that clause when she was hired. Still, James says she was treated unfairly.

“I feel like what San Diego Christian College did to me was hurtful and un-Christ like,” James told reporters.

“I was unmarried, pregnant and they took away my livelihood,” James added.

Allred says the college will argue that, since it’s a religious entity, it can legally fire James. But she maintains that it’s a business entity, and the termination is illegal.

79 comments

  • Kimmy

    You've got to be kidding. When they start firing the men staffers for having sex as well (oh wait, I'm sure NONE of the men there are having premarital sex) I'll be fine with this firing, and not a moment sooner. Love those Christian values.

    • malclave

      It's kind of like a rolling stop… you're fine as long as you're not caught.

      Show that male employees have been known to have premarital sex and not faced consequences, and you have a case. You don't get to complain about a double standard without demonstrating that a double standard exists.

      • Kimmy

        Really, you actually doubt the presence of a double standard?! If men's bellies swelled up every time they deposited sperm pre-maritally, we'd have a nation of XXL young men.

        • malclave

          Yes, I doubt it.

          Can you show that the college would not fire a man it knew violated the same clause?

          I don't really care about your crying about being victimized. Especially if you're going to continue claiming that women get pregnant every time they have unprotected sex.

          • Kimmy

            No one said women get pregnant every time they have sex. I was just pointing out how much easier it would be to avoid a double standard if there were some way to tell when MEN have sex….

          • guest

            Kimmy, this might help balance things out. In a effort to uncover hidden sexual sins, particiculary in single men, the college could mandate ALL men in that group submit to the installation of penile plethysmograph c/w data logger. That might get them to drop their stones. John 8: 7-11

            Many of those that are all for "accountabilty" usally settle on an asymmetrictic model and then try to convice everyone else it is a symmetric model.

  • SoCalMom

    Here's the question our justice system apparently now must answer, and based on what (some) Christian organizations seem hell-bent on enforcing, we need an answer soon: If we are adequately doing the job we are hired for, does a private employer have the right to dictate what we do IN PRIVATE, outside the office?!!!!! Scary.

    • steve

      I don't know, I think once the college is asked to provide maternity time and supply health coverage to an unwed mother and infant, a decision which would affect all other employees (not to mention cost of tuition) that these so called "private" decisions might have some real public ramifications. Scary indeed.

      • kim

        Furthermore, it is against the law to base hiring or firing on personal information such as number of children or a woman's intention to have more. What century are you living in?

        • steve

          The original comment was about private lives' without any effect on the public, that is simply not true, I was not commenting on hiring practices. At a private Christian college it is both reasonable and lawful to hold employees to Christian standards of living, after all employees represent the institution they work for. Child bearing is part of a marriage commitment, the family unit is the chief building block of society. Thank you for your information on hiring practices for women, you are correct in your understanding of the criteria HR departments are instructed to work with.

  • steve

    Maybe the people saying the college needs to forgive Teri are using a different definition of forgiveness?

    Forgiving does not mean ignoring the infraction, but refusing to repay in kind or harbor bitterness. Forgiveness removes condemnation, not consequences. There is nothing in the college's response which would suggest they have not forgiven Teri. There is though some evidence which would suggest Teri is not admitting she should be held accountable for her own actions and that she is truly repentant for her wrongdoing.

    • smithflight

      New Testament scripture says often that when infractions occur the penalty is waved. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting" This is the basic reality of our faith. It goes beyond releasing "harboring of feelings". We are called to a much higher and more difficult ( to our nature) standard.

  • grumpling

    What is written in the schol's employee requirements? What if it would have been someone other than you? How many people knew you were having a pre-marital relationship. Did you tell anyone?

  • grumpling

    This is in the Community Covenant Hanbook for all employees: Biblical character is highly valued and desired at SDCC. Scripture describes character
    qualities by what it is and what it is not. The positive traits we commit to included in our
    character are love, joy, kindness, patience, humility, compassion, forgiveness, hospitality,
    integrity, generosity, care for the oppressed, commitment to justice, and the recognition of
    the rights and needs of others. 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.

  • TruthSeeker

    Forgiveness doesn't mean there are no consequences. We forgive our children but there are consequences when they break the rules of our home. She violated her employment agreement. If you dance you gotta pay the band.

    • smithflight

      That is the gospel of Dodge City. An eye for an eye. The New Testament holds followers of Christ to a high standard than just the enforcer of legal contacts.

      • TruthSeeker

        Not at all eye for eye. All companies have standards that if you violate you get fired for. My company handbook has regulations. If I violate certain ones I get fired. If I don't like the rules then I should get a job some place else where I agree with the company regulations.

        • smithflight

          Bringing a secular company into the argument muddles your point. Secular companies could not have this contract enforceable unless the offense had a direct affect on her job performance. The issue here is how far reaching can the regulations in this college's book extend to a person's private life. Your company cannot tell you not to have wine with dinner in your home, this is in keeping with very American "castle doctrine".

          The courts may side with the College. The Supreme court has sided with churches in allowing them great latitude for firing people involved in ministry. This is understandable because they are in a teaching role and are the primary public representation of the faith at the highest level of the organization.

  • LaTrice

    When my daughter was a young girl, I choose to send and pay for her to receive a private and RELIGIOUS education. When a family chooses a religious education, students and teachers are ask and required to follow the rules set forth. I agree with the school firing the teacher, the teacher is aware of the rules and she is required to set an example for the students.

    • Guest

      I agree with you on standards for our children's education, but I see some disconnect to the agreement to fire this person based on this.

      -This case it is a college of students, all of which have reached the age of maturity. They are not children.

      -The women in this story is not a teacher in the institution.

  • Christ Follower

    You who call yourselves Christian are amazing! You are judging before you even know any of the facts of this woman and the school! You think she is really just suing for a convenient? Ha ha typical Christian! Be a Christ follower and not a people pleaser. Be slow speak and quick to listen…I guarantee there is more to this story

  • mmhmmmmm

    Alright, so I'm probably goin to be the only person who knows these two personally to comment. I attended this school. I graduated from this school. It should be known by her that she would be fired. Why? Because the students who break these rules are often kicked out. The baby daddy is still in they picture. They are married now. I hope and pray that this is settled civally, but she is supposed to be an example to the students. A lot of them knew her. So….

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