EUGENE, OREGON (08/05/15) – According to the Wall Street Journal, Coty Richardson, a former assistant professor, has filed a wrongful termination lawsuit asking for $650,000 because she alleges that her employment was terminated unfairly because she was pregnant and not married.
Ms. Richardson filed suit Tuesday in the Circuit Court of Lane County. She claims that when she announced her pregnancy to university officials, she was given two choices in order to save her job: either get married as soon as possible or discontinue her relationship with the father and state that the pregnancy was a “mistake.”
Ms. Richardson did not want to go along with either of theses choices and told university officials that they were meddling in her private life and asked them to respect her right to privacy.
Her termination was made official in a July 30 letter from Northwest Christian’s faculty dean and academic affairs president, Dennis Lindsay. He informed Ms. Richardson that the university objected to her pregnancy because it thought her situation was against the school’s values and found it to be a negative example for their students.
Ms. Richardson was employed by the university as an exercise science professor for almost four years. She currently has two children. Her third child is expected in November. The father is a man with whom she has had a relationship for 12 years.
The lawsuit alleges that the university violated several federal Title VII laws in regards to discrimination in employment. The suit asks for $500,000 for emotional distress. In addition, the lawsuit asks for $150,000 to pay for Ms. Richardson’s economic losses.
One of the Title VII laws that Ms. Richardson alleges in her lawsuit was violated by the university is that of gender discrimination. Her lawsuit claims male employees were not let go when they and their partners had children without being married.
Officials from Northwest Christian never returned a message taken by a secretary in their office asking for a comment.