A Victory for Workers, a Victory for Families

This week, an Ohio federal jury awarded Christa Dias $171,000 after she was fired from her part-time teaching jobs at two religious schools. Dias had alleged that she was fired for becoming pregnant while unmarried. In response, the schools and the Archdiocese of Cincinnati had claimed that her use of artificial insemination violated Catholic religious tenets and was a valid reason for firing her. In its verdict, the jury specifically found that Dias was the victim of pregnancy discrimination.

The verdict is an important victory for both workers' rights and the rights of parents and families. It affirms that the law protects workers' freedom to make decisions about their reproductive lives without suffering condemnation and retaliation from their bosses. It also implicitly recognizes that – especially in today's era of assisted reproduction – families come in diverse forms, all of which deserve respect and protection.

Christa Dias's court victory reaffirms the longstanding principle that religious freedom does not give anyone or any entity a free pass to discriminate. Recently, some religiously-affiliated organizations and secular for-profit businesses that hire from and serve the public have tried to justify discrimination by invoking religious freedom. While this country ardently protects the absolute right to believe what you want, the right to act upon those beliefs is not unlimited. It does not permit employers, businesses, or individuals to interfere with the rights of, and harm, others – including pregnant women, women seeking access to contraception or LGBT individuals.

The ACLU's Campaign to End the Use of Religion to Discriminate responds to this troubling trend. In a recent case similar to Dias's, we filed a charge of discrimination on behalf of a single mother fired for becoming pregnant while unmarried Christa Dias successfully enforced the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a law that bars many forms of discrimination, including that based on sex and pregnancy. Virtually every organization and business readily abides by this and other laws, regardless of the organization's or the business owners' faith. Today's verdict should be a wake-up call to those who do not yet follow suit.

Tell Us Your Story: If you have experienced discrimination at work based on sex, pregnancy, or marital status, tell us using our online form.

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Anonymous

How is that a victory for anyone? She works at religious schools and goes against /their/ ideals, that she even signed to adhere to in her work contract, for her own selfish reasons. Now she gets rewarded for that?

I guess if I wanted to teach kids how to lack any sort of ethics or morals, I would go this route.

Anonymous

This is why i believe in civil action. Unfortunately, sometimes it takes good lawyers to get things sorted out and that doesn't come cheap, especially for those who have been fired.

Anonymous

Where are you when the IRS is discriminating against Americans, when phone records are being turned over without probable cause, when drones are being put into place to watch innocent Americans, when the Constitution is being ignored or trampled on every day by our elected officials?
Oh, that's right, it doesn't fit your liberal agenda.
Keep promoting your anti-religion agenda.

Pastor Bill

So what if she agreed to a particular standard of conduct? Is it still unlawful descrimination?

Anonymous

Once again, Catholics are persecuted while the sinful flourish. I will pray for her and her child.

Anonymous

from someone who was baptized a Catholic:

Despite the fact that Catholic people have been twisting scripture to serve their own needs for thousands of years, I wouldn't feel sorry for them just because they're allegedly being persecuted.
When I was informally ex-communicated from the Catholic Church (a group of clergy met in secret, decided they no longer wanted me there and conveyed the message to me loudly and clearly) I went to a nondenominational church that was still Christian. They just accepted Christian of all faiths: Episcopalian, Baptist, Lutherans, even Catholics.
The pastor there said that Jesus never gave mortals the power to cast out demons and then showed me in the Bible where he gave that privilege to his disciples. It never said anything about church leaders outside of his disciples being granted the power to perform exorcisms.
I always wondered why exorcising demons takes so long, is so painful and hardly ever works. Until I talked to that pastor about it, I never even knew that Jesus never specifically gave Catholic clergy that authority. They extrapolated it from what they read and then acted on it by giving the authority to themselves.
Which is just ONE reason I find Catholics more insufferable than true victims of circumstance.

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