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College in San Diego fires employee for having premarital sex

Employees in San Diego might assume that what they choose to do outside of work will remain private and have no effect on their jobs or their ability to do their jobs. For example, the decision to have a sexual relationship with someone else outside of work is personal. But in some situations, this decision may actually jeopardize one's employment.

In October, an employee at San Diego Christian College was allegedly fired for having premarital sex. Her personal decisions to have a sexual relationship became obvious in the workplace when the employee got pregnant, and as a result, she was fired. The former employee filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the college last week.

In California, employers cannot fire employees simply because they are pregnant, and employers also cannot discriminate against employees on the basis of their marital status. However, San Diego Christian College claims that its employees and students are responsible for abiding by certain rules that reflect the school's religious beliefs and practices. For example, employees and students are expected to refrain from having premarital sex.

Although the school expects its employees to follow specific guidelines that reflect Christian beliefs and practices, the school allegedly does not state in writing in any of its policies and guidelines what the consequences may be for students and employees who do not abide by the school's special rules.

When the employee became pregnant, she was told that she could either quit on her own or be fired. The employee refused to quit her job, and the college did follow through with firing her for violating the school's "community covenant." Although the former employee's personal decisions may not have reflected the school's beliefs and practices, the woman is now suing the school for violating her rights as an employee. She claims that the college is still expected to abide by employment and labor laws and it violated these laws by firing her when she became pregnant while she was not married.

The woman is now married.

Source: abc 7, "Lawsuit accused Calif. Christian of firing employee for premarital sex, wedlock pregnancy," Sid Garcia, Feb. 14, 2013