It is well established in California that women cannot be treated differently than men at work. Any employment related decision, including firing an employee, cannot be based on the employee's gender. However, this still does occur, and women are still affected by these discriminatory decisions. One way that women can be discriminated against is based on their pregnancies.
A former teacher is now claiming in a wrongful termination lawsuit that her employer fired her for that reason. However, there is a slight twist in this case. Her employer was a Catholic church and she says that she was fired not just because she was pregnant, but because she was pregnant outside of marriage, which was morally unacceptable for the church. She claims she was told by the pastor of the church that it would send a bad message to the students. The church is denying the claim and says she was fired for other job performance related reasons.
When a person is the victim of wrongful termination, they may be able to seek compensation as a result. All employees are protected from being fired based on their sex, pregnancy, race, age, disability and other aspects of their lives that are out of their control. This case also demonstrates how employers may try and justify the decisions they make to try and claim the employee was fired for legitimate business reasons and not discriminatory reasons.
People are fired every day in California for many different reasons. Since most employees are at-will employees, most of these firings are also legal. However, even at-will employees have rights and cannot be fired for certain reasons, such as being pregnant. If employees are successful in proving wrongful termination, they may be able to pursue back pay and other compensation from their former employer.