Woman Claims She Was Fired Over Living Situation, Sues Employer
A worker fired from her job at a Christian university in Lakewood, Colo. has filed a lawsuit against her former employer. She claims she was let go after administrators asked if she were “living in sin” with her boyfriend.
The woman said she was “shocked” that the school was concerned enough about her personal life to fire her over it. After administrators refused to communicate with her about the issue, she decided to file the suit.
The suit states that an innocent incident of getting coffee with a married male coworker led to the plaintiff being questioned by a university vice president about an “alleged relationship” with the man, as well as questions about her personal life. She claims no relationship existed, but was told she had been seen “laughing and joking” with him. The vice president allegedly went on to say that the fired worker was a distraction to the coworker’s marriage, which would hinder her career at the university.
The university flatly denies the allegations, stating that she was let go “for purely business reasons because she wasn’t doing her job.”
Not so, says the lawsuit. It states that the plaintiff was also retaliated against for her medical problems. She suffered from various issues that required her to request leave under the Family Medical Leave Act. When she met with the human resources department, the director asked her questions directly related to her private life, including whether she lived with and was having sexual relations with her boyfriend. The director stated this would be “potential grounds for termination.”
The employee was approved for FMLA, which she claims is another reason for her dismissal. She also claims the university violated state law for terminating her for lawful activity off premises during nonworking hours (the “living in sin” part).
This could be an uphill battle for the plaintiff; the Supreme Court generally upholds religious institutions’ hiring and firing decisions, based on their beliefs. We’ll keep an eye on this case and report any progress.