Castronovo & McKinney Represents Catholic School Teacher Fired for Premarital Pregnancy in Case Headed to the New Jersey Supreme Court
Morristown, NJ (Law Firm Newswire) October 13, 2021 – In June, the New Jersey Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments in a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit Castronovo & McKinney is pursuing against the archdiocese that oversees the St. Theresa School.
Our client, a Catholic elementary school art teacher, was fired in 2014 after the school learned she was expecting a child. The principal allegedly told her she was being fired because she was “unmarried and pregnant.”
The school argued this case is about “the fundamental freedom of religion” and that our client was fired for violating the school’s moral code. “Sex out of wedlock violates a fundamental Catholic belief that the school in this instance felt it could not overlook,” the school’s lawyers said.
However, lead attorney Thomas A. McKinney contends this is a case about gender discrimination, double standards, and First Amendment rights. Attorney McKinney says that because the school’s only evidence that Crisitello violated its moral code was her pregnancy, “only a woman could be punished, not a man.”
New Jersey’s appellate court, siding with our client, found there was evidence the school had not attempted to enforce its morals code equally. While the outcome of this case remains to be seen, we believe our client’s termination is not covered by the “ministerial exception” to workplace bias laws, which was expanded by the U.S. Supreme Court last year.
At Castronovo & McKinney, we are committed to eliminating employment discrimination in all its forms. We represent individuals and employees in all types of employment-related disputes and have recovered millions of dollars for our clients in settlements and verdicts.