Schools are a place in which discrimination unfortunately exists but should not. Typically, the stories one hears are of students discriminating against each other. Rarer are reports of employees being discriminated against. Two former teachers of a California Christian school are filing claims for wrongful termination due to religious discrimination.
The two teachers allege that they were wrongfully discharged because they refused to provide a document confirming that they held certain religious beliefs. The document had to have been signed by a pastor in order to prove that the two teachers went to a certain church. The private school is owned by a certain church, and the school claims that the teachers needed to have been a member of that church or an approved church in order to remain employed.
The school and church previously attempted a lawsuit against the two teachers, but it was dismissed supposedly because of issues with jurisdiction. The school officials are said to be planning for an appeal. The school claims to have the constitutional right to screen employees based on religious affiliation.
The two teachers maintain that under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act, private schools are not exempt from the law’s prohibition of religious discrimination. In situations involving schools and employees, it can be intimidating to bring allegations against the institute for claims such as wrongful termination for the fear of being blacklisted. If the charges are not upheld in court, the two teachers could have difficulty obtaining work in the education industry. However, the teachers are exercising their right in California to bring their allegations of wrongful termination to a court. Every effort will be made to ensure a fair and unbiased proceeding.
Source: Ventura County Star, “Former teachers file lawsuit against Christian school,” June 13, 2013