In Dias v. Archdiocese of Cincinnati, Case No. 1:11-CV-00251, 2012 WL 1068165 (S.D. Ohio Mar. 29, 2012), a technology coordinator for two parochial schools who oversaw the schools’ computer systems and instructed students on computer use stated a claim for pregnancy discrimination and breach of contract against the Archdiocese of Cincinnati when she was terminated after becoming pregnant through artificial insemination when unmarried. The court found the ministerial exception to employment discrimination inapplicable because the plaintiff was not a ministerial employee. The schools did not hold her out as a minister; did not give her a religious title or commission; did not review her ministerial skills; and never charged her with teaching the faith, participating in religious services or leading devotional exercises. She never underwent religious training or held herself out as a minister; nor did she, as a non-Catholic, teach Catholic doctrine. The court said it was “not enough to generally call her a ‘role model,’ or find that she is a ‘minister’ by virtue of her affiliation with a religious school.” The court held that the contracts she signed made no reference to prohibiting artificial insemination. The court agreed that the defendant’s contention that she engaged in bad faith by signing such contracts depends upon proof that the plaintiff knew that such conduct was against the teachings and philosophy of the church. With respect to pregnancy discrimination, the court indicated that there was a genuine issue of fact as to whether the defendant enforced its policy solely by observing the pregnancy of its female teachers, which would constitute a form of pregnancy discrimination. In addition, the court implied that if the facts proved that she was dismissed due to artificial insemination, this could be pregnancy discrimination per se.
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Instructor states claim for pregnancy discrimination against parochial schools
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