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Termination For Artificial Insemination? It Happened

Christa Dias was a computer technology professional, employed by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati , working in two local schools. Dias informed her boss that she had gotten pregnant and he warned her that she would probably lose her job. Dias was unmarried and the Catholic school system had strict rules against premarital sex.

Dias decided that she would be honest with her boss: she had been artificially inseminated. The diocese decided to terminate her employment anyway and she filed a lawsuit for pregnancy discrimination and breach of contract.

Thus far, the trial court has allowed Dias to continue with her pregnancy discrimination claim but has disallowed the breach of contract claim. The court held that she had ‘unclean hands’ in the contract claim because she had withheld her sexuality that she’d been in a longterm relationship with another woman from her employer. She did not tell her employer because it would have been a breach of the morals clause of her contract.

The court has not said that the Church can or cannot fire a female employee for becoming pregnant outside of marriage. Instead the case may turn on whether the Archdiocese has consistently enforced its state policy prohibiting premarital sex to all employees, regardless of gender. Based on evidence gathered to this point, only women have been fired for engaging in premarital sex. Certainly, it may be more obvious when a woman becomes pregnant, but that does not mean that men don’t participate in the same behaviors.

Source: Courthouse News Service, Artificial Insemination Firing Suit Goes to Trial,” February 6, 2013

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