Pregnancy cost her job, woman's suit claims

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An Augusta woman is suing First Academy Christian School and Daycare on the grounds that she was unfairly fired for becoming pregnant outside of wedlock.

The suit filed Dec. 19 in U.S. District Court says that the school announced a policy in March 2008 that prohibited continued employment if the employee had an “outside pregnancy.” The plaintiff, Stephanie Ward, was hired around March 2009 to teach 3-year-olds at the school, which operates under the umbrella of First Baptist Church Gracewood.

Ward said she took a raise at the end of the school year and moved on to teach the 4-year-olds in the fall; on Sept. 30, 2009, she discovered she was pregnant. The lawsuit says that Ward did not believe it was in her best interest to get married and that she had a right to protect her unborn child without having to give up her ability to support herself.

“Although Plaintiff wanted and needed her job, she was opposed to having an abortion, which is an effect and consequence of such a policy,” the lawsuit says.

Ward informed her supervisor, Debbie Ashley, that she was pregnant on Oct. 5, 2009. She was fired two weeks later after training her replacement, according to the lawsuit.

On Jan. 19, 2010, Ward filed paperwork with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claiming gender and pregnancy discrimination. The federal agency issued a notice of right to sue Sept. 21, 2011, with a finding that there was reasonable cause to believe some or all federal statutes were violated, according to court papers.

The lawsuit alleges that the school’s pregnancy policy discriminates against women. It requests a permanent injunction against the school forbidding them from further enacting the policy, along with back pay and punitive damages.

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AutumnLeaves
6023
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AutumnLeaves 12/28/11 - 03:32 pm
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It's a Christian School.

It's a Christian School. Isn't there an expectation that employees will act in a Christian manner to set an example for their students, therefore will not commit adultery (engaging in an intimate relationship without being married to the other participant) which is a moral and Christian principle and that if there is evidence thereof (the pregnancy), wouldn't it be reasonable for them to fire her? I am curious what federal statutes could possibly have been violated?

Farmboy
904
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Farmboy 12/28/11 - 03:41 pm
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Oh boy! Here the "Christians"

Oh boy! Here the "Christians" go again. Judge her with everything you've got.

itsanotherday
0
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itsanotherday 12/28/11 - 03:42 pm
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I agree AL. Conditions of
Unpublished

I agree AL. Conditions of employment are just that, but if a policy is **discriminatory against gender, as this appears to be, she will win.
If the policy had stated specifically no sex outside of marriage they may have a case because her pregnancy is evidence of that.
I hope there if follow up on this as it is an interesting case.

**males can't get pregnant, so this appears to be a discriminatory policy.

itsanotherday
0
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itsanotherday 12/28/11 - 03:45 pm
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Farmboy, you make judgements
Unpublished

Farmboy, you make judgements every day about a lot of different things, including people. You can't tell me you make it through the day without thoughts, positive and negative, about people you encounter.

Willow Bailey
20579
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Willow Bailey 12/28/11 - 04:22 pm
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Good point, itsanotherday.

Good point, itsanotherday. Many people see judgement as being about stating an oppositional or negative opinion or remark. Anything that we say about another whether positive or negative is really a judgement . In Mathew 7:1-5, We are told not to judge others, because when we do, they will judge us right back. It is a warning to us, primarily because it destroys relationships between people.

Little Lamb
43901
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Little Lamb 12/28/11 - 04:27 pm
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Here is reason # 999 why

Here is reason # 999 why people are fed up with bloated government bureaucracies and their inefficiencies:

On Jan. 19, 2010, Ward filed paperwork with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claiming gender and pregnancy discrimination. The federal agency issued a notice of right to sue Sept. 21, 2011, with a finding that there was reasonable cause to believe some or all federal statutes were violated, according to court papers.

It took the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission 21 months to issue an opinion! Shameful. What was the federal agency hoping — that she would go ahead and get an abortion against her conscience, that she would have a miscarriage, that the baby would die in infancy, that she would give up, go away, and leave them alone? This kind of "service" is what we can look forward to with federally controlled health care.

It is time to stop the Obama regime in its tracks this coming November!

x
6
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x 12/28/11 - 04:30 pm
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Unless the woman was raped,

Unless the woman was raped, the school is in the right 100%. She had sex outside of wedlock and got pregnant. A Christian school should not be forced to tolerate someone flaunting their sexual immorality in front of children. Period.

grouse
1635
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grouse 12/28/11 - 04:35 pm
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The EEOC was established in
Unpublished

The EEOC was established in 1965, Obama was born in 1961, so I really doubt he had anything to do with it! It would be nice to have overnight service from government agencies, I agree, but isn't it nice that we have such recourse at all? Your Republican candidates would eliminate much of these services if they their way...

142
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Dan White 12/28/11 - 04:42 pm
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It seems Ms. Ward was in a

It seems Ms. Ward was in a Catch 22. If she told her supervisor that she was pregnant out of wedlock, she faced termination for violating the Christian school's policy. If she chose to have an abortion, she could keep her job and no one would be the wiser for that. Even though not stated in the article, one can assume that abortion would certainly not be condoned by the Christian school. So, have the baby out of wedlock, get fired. Have an abortion in the first few weeks of pregnancy before anyone knew and keep the job. She made the right decision to have the baby.

itsanotherday
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itsanotherday 12/28/11 - 04:43 pm
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Grouse, the Obama point is
Unpublished

Grouse, the Obama point is that he has everything to do with the takeover of healthcare and continuing government expansion. The EEOC incompetence in this case just exemplifies what one can expect from more and bigger government. How would you like to wait for 21 months on a life impacting decision?

Farmboy
904
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Farmboy 12/28/11 - 04:53 pm
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I agree. I have judged

I agree. I have judged people. I have no room to complain. It just seems like they should work with her instead of against her, which seems to be the case. She has a baby on the way and no job.

InChristLove
22420
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InChristLove 12/28/11 - 05:26 pm
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Sounds harsh but she should

Sounds harsh but she should have thought about that Farmboy before she decided to have sex outside of marriage. The School has a set of moral standards that it expects their teachers to follow just as a church expects of their Pastor, Deacons, and Sunday School teachers. She choose to go against the moral teachings of the school, so she needs to take responsiblity for her conduct. If I choose to go against the policies of my employer then I stand the chance of loosing my job....how is this any different.

That being said, I would hope that the school would help her find another teaching job (in a secular school) where she can support herself and her child, and continue to live her life according to her moral standards.

allhans
23288
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allhans 12/28/11 - 05:26 pm
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I don't see it as having as

I don't see it as having as much to do with having a child but to pregnancy outside of marriage. If she had married before indulging she could have kept her job. Simple?

InChristLove
22420
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InChristLove 12/28/11 - 05:32 pm
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Pastor White, yes she made

Pastor White, yes she made the correct decision to have the child. She isn't being judge for having relations outside the bonds of marriage. She is suffering the consequences for going against the policies of the Christian school. Is this any different that the hospital stating there is a policy where you can not smoke and be employeed by them, find out you have been secretly smoking and they fire you. You broke the policy so you pay the consequences for it. If my employer has a policy against using drugs and doing a random drug test I register positive and they fire me. Do I sue them because they fired me knowing full well the policy states no drugs?

Grace422
239
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Grace422 12/28/11 - 05:35 pm
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Sorry Mary there is no room

Sorry Mary there is no room at this inn.. So Get lost!! I hope she WINS!!!! Like the 4 year olds know if she had sex outside of marriage and I wonder how many of them live or were born into single parent households..That day care passed the burned to the tax payers since she has no way to support herself or her child and it's highly unlikely she would be hired to a new job being pregnant. Lord help the Baptist with their lack of neighborly love and passing judgment on everyone else...

johnette4
24
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johnette4 12/28/11 - 05:38 pm
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She was discriminated against

She was discriminated against period! What building of work have employees are TOTALLY Ethical?.. I have seen a ton of sinful iisues adressed in religious organizations but you don't see pastors priests and ministers being fired on a regular basis do you???...Evidently if the suit stands the law sees some sort of error on the companys behalf! Stop complaining already. Life is too short!!

InChristLove
22420
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InChristLove 12/28/11 - 05:44 pm
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Grace422, this has nothing to

Grace422, this has nothing to do with neighborly love and passing judgment. This is ALL about taking responsiblity for your actions. She knew having sex could cause pregancy and she was not married. She knew the policy before she was hired. Why should the School/Daycare lower their moral Christian standard to suit secular moral standards. It is not a matter if 4 year olds know the difference....it matters that there are rules and regulations set in place, ones made clear before she was hired, and now that she's become an unwed mother, she expects the school to roll over and disregard their rules and regulations?

When do we stop making excuses for our bad choices and start taking responsiblity. Don't blame the day care for passing the burn to the tax payers....blame Ms. Ward and the father of her child.

InChristLove
22420
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InChristLove 12/28/11 - 05:46 pm
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"...school announced a policy

"...school announced a policy in March 2008 that prohibited continued employment if the employee had an “outside pregnancy.” The plaintiff, Stephanie Ward, was hired around March 2009 "

Please show me where she was discriminated agains. A policy was put in place in March of 08, she was hired in March of 09. She violated the policy and lost her job. End of story.

Grace422
239
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Grace422 12/28/11 - 05:48 pm
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It will never stop as long as

It will never stop as long as we are human.. It is human to SIN!!! Love the sinner, but hate the sin..

I've spent over 20 years in different Baptist churches and if you want to see a bunch of sinners attend church services...

InChristLove
22420
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InChristLove 12/28/11 - 05:52 pm
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Johnette4, no business is

Johnette4, no business is totally ethical because we are all fallible humans. So correct me if I'm wrong in your thinking. Because we all make mistakes, all do things we shouldn't, we all get to keep our jobs no matter what we do, because no one is perfect. I can come in drunk, I can fail all the drug test they give me, I can call in whenever I don't feel like working, I can pass company information on to competitors when I want, I can wear what I want to work and I can smoke whereever I choose instead of in designated areas, because after all, these policies don't mean a thing. If they fire me I'll just sue their judgemental, unforgiving behinds and I'll get to keep my job.

After all, I can do what I want, when I want, with whom I want, and where I want.....no rules! YEAH

InChristLove
22420
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InChristLove 12/28/11 - 05:56 pm
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You're exactly right

You're exactly right Grace422. Churches are made for sinners like you, me, and everyone else, because we all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Church is not for perfect people and was never intended for perfect people. Maybe that's the problem.....nonbelievers expect "church goers" to be perfect so when Christians do mess up, it's play the blame game time.

Bruno
780
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Bruno 12/28/11 - 06:36 pm
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If she knew of the policy and

If she knew of the policy and signed the contract she doesn't have a case. .. or at least shouldn't.

GaStang22
910
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GaStang22 12/28/11 - 06:53 pm
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She entered into that
Unpublished

She entered into that contract of her own free will, she shouldn't get a dime!! And if getting married was protecting her child, then why have a child with a man like that to start with. He changed in the few weeks to a month of when you found out you were pregnant? You knew the policy but didn't take steps to prevent it. Here we go again, blame everyone but yourself, sue sue sue for your mistakes and let others pay for your irresponsibility. Good grief!!!

rmwhitley
5526
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rmwhitley 12/28/11 - 07:02 pm
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If I own the company or
Unpublished

If I own the company or business, you work under MY conditions.

literallyamerican
29
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literallyamerican 12/28/11 - 07:32 pm
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Good grief we all have rules

Good grief we all have rules to live by in our job----all she had to do was go to school--teach little four year olds--have the time of her life doing it, but NO she had to CHOOSE a Christian School and defile their moral and ethical standards and then clog up the EEOC system with a completely deserved dismissal. All she had to do was be moral---that's all...just be moral. I dont care what she does with her personal life but she put it out there for judgement when she took this job---sorry that is just the way it is

rmwardsr
525
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rmwardsr 12/28/11 - 07:49 pm
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literallyamerican; I could

literallyamerican; I could not have said it any better. Law enforcement officers lose their jobs for getting caught DUI, they knew the rules when they started, and so did this woman.

KSL
121922
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KSL 12/28/11 - 07:59 pm
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Farmboy, how can she have a

Farmboy, how can she have a baby on the way if it took 21 months for EEOC to make a decision? Did you read the article?

"Ward said she took a raise at the end of the school year and moved on to teach the 4-year-olds in the fall; on Sept. 30, 2009, she discovered she was pregnant" and "On Jan. 19, 2010, Ward filed paperwork with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claiming gender and pregnancy discrimination. The federal agency issued a notice of right to sue Sept. 21, 2011, with a finding that there was reasonable cause to believe some or all federal statutes were violated, according to court papers."

scoobynews
3771
Points
scoobynews 12/28/11 - 07:59 pm
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This reminds me of the old

This reminds me of the old saying WWJD? Well he certainly wouldn't have thrown a young girl out on the street with no job. If I recall several stories in the bible were Jesus interveined on the behalf of those that sinned. Why because he may not have liked the sin but he loved the sinner? His compassion far out weighed that of people today. The school could have let her finished out the year or waited until she found a new job to support her and her child wouldn't that have been the CHRISTIANLY thing to do?

KSL
121922
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KSL 12/28/11 - 08:08 pm
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If she was advised of the

If she was advised of the policy on out of wedlock pregnancy, she should have known she either needed to take serious precautions or married the father for a while (until after the baby was born) or started looking for another job.

Oh, and Grouse, I think the comment about the Obama administration has more to do with the way his agencies (such as the Justice Department, the EPA, etc) are interpreting the rules and laws, not the origination date of the agency. We currently have plenty of examples of how Obama's people are behaving.

galaxygrl
1165
Points
galaxygrl 12/28/11 - 08:18 pm
0
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Not getting into the schools

Not getting into the schools rules, but Georgia is a right to work state and the employer can let an employee go if they want to for no reason.

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