Unwed teacher claims she was fired for being pregnant

The lawsuit claims gender discrimination.
The lawsuit claims gender discrimination.(Source: WAFB)
Published: Jun. 15, 2021 at 10:12 AM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) – A teacher says she was terminated because she was pregnant and unwed.

Sarah Syring was hired as a middle school English teacher at Saint Andrew Academy on Nov. 20, 2019, according to a lawsuit filed against the Archdiocese of Louisville.

The lawsuit states, Syring discovered she was pregnant with her partner’s child on Aug. 2, 2020. She met with Saint Andrew Academy principal Stuart Cripe about her pregnancy on Oct. 19, 2020, and stated he was initially supportive, stated her job was secure and said she would be provided with all of the paperwork to request maternity leave.

The next day, she said she was provided with the paperwork and a plan was put in place.

Ten days later, the lawsuit claims she was directed to go to Cripe’s office and Father Chris Lubecke was waiting for her. He allegedly congratulated her and asked about her plans. “Lubecke was visibly flustered and claimed several times that he had never had to deal with a situation like this and would have to take it up the ‘chain of command,’” according to the lawsuit.

She was then instructed to keep her pregnancy private.

In a second meeting with Cripe and Lubecke on Nov. 19, 2020, Syring claims they read paragraphs from the Christian Witness statement employee handbook and said she could not work there in her “condition” and asked her to either resign or be terminated.

“After communicating the decision to terminate Ms. Syring, Father Lubecke then asked her if she planned to marry her partner before the birth of the child, to which Ms. Syring replied that she did not have any such plans. Mr. Cripe interjected, ‘We are not trying to rush your relationship, but if you were to get married, this all goes away,’” the lawsuit states.

On Dec. 15, 2020, Syring said she received a letter from Lubecke stating she was being terminated on Jan. 18, 2021 for “failure to follow the Christian Witness policy.”

Syring said she was aware of at least two instances where the same policy was ignored to accommodate male employees, including a teacher who was openly gay and one who engaged in an adulterous relationship.

According to the lawsuit, Syring was not a practicing Catholic and was not required to be to teach at the school.

Syring’s lawsuit claims gender discrimination. She is seeking damages, equitable relief including reinstatement, “an amount to be proven at trial for the humiliation, embarrassment, personal indignity, apprehension about past, current and future well-being, emotional distress, and mental anguish which have been caused to her by the Defendants’ wrongful acts” and attorney fees.

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