Unwed Oregon Christian university professor asks for maternity leave — gets fired instead for her ‘lifestyle’
A former professor at Eugene, Oregon’s Northwest Christian University is suing the institution claiming that she was wrongfully terminated for choosing to have a baby without marrying her partner.
According to the Wall Street Journal‘s Law Blog, Coty Richardson was working as an exercise science professor at Northwest when she enquired with the university’s human resources department about the possibility of taking maternity leave in November when her pregnancy was due to end.
In a lawsuit filed in state court on Tuesday, Richardson said that she received notice from Northwest’s administration that her “lifestyle” was inconsistent with the university’s “faith-based” policies. Administrators issued her an ultimatum: Marry the baby’s father, break up with him or leave her job.
Richardson’s suit against Northwest said that she was “mortified and crushed” when she received the notification from her employer, but that she flatly “refused to cut ties with the father of her child and her partner of twelve years.”
Administrators told her that she had a week to decide. When pressed for an answer, she told them that she did not wish to discuss her personal life any further.
She was fired on July 28.
The lawsuit is seeking $600,000 in damages and accuses Northwest Christian of pregnancy, sex and marital status discrimination, as well as wrongful termination and breach of contract.