Demand Justice for Woman Fired for Being Pregnant

Target: Robert Jensen, Dean of Administration and Finance at San Diego Christian College

Goal: Apologize for firing an employee for becoming pregnant and offer her her job back

While many women who intend to start families may face hiring discrimination, many enjoy protection from being fired simply for giving birth and taking maternity leave. In the case of Teri James, simply becoming pregnant was considered just cause for her to lose her job. James’s supervisor at San Diego Christian College called her into his office and bluntly asked if she was pregnant. Having just learned the news with her fiancé, she responded honestly that she was. But because James had signed a contract pledging not to engage in “immoral” activity like premarital sex, she soon found herself fired from her job.

Astonishingly, San Diego Christian College promptly offered James’s fiancé the very same position that she had just been fired from—even though he had obviously engaged in the exact same indiscretion that got her fired. She has since enlisted the help of an attorney to sue her former employer.

The fact that San Diego Christian College was willing to hire James’s now-husband to replace her illustrates how her case is not an issue of morals, but of discrimination. The private Christian school may have been unwilling to host an unmarried pregnant woman on its campus, but it was perfectly content hiring an unmarried man who had also engaged in premarital sex. This case is just one of many that proves how the burden of Christian morality weighs more heavily on women than men.

San Diego Christian College should not have fired Teri James in her time of need, no matter the contract she signed at the start of her employment. Urge the school’s Dean of Administration to apologize and give James her job back.


Dear Mr. Jensen,

When Teri James lost her job at your institution, she bore the brunt of a long history of sexist firing practices. All too often, working women seeking to start families are fired outright because employers do not want to find a temporary replacement for them while they take their maternity leave. In James’s case, it certainly seems as though she was fired not because she engaged in premarital sex, but because she was a pregnant woman. After all, your school offered her job to the man who is now her husband—who had engaged in the very same premarital sex.

As a Christian organization, San Diego Christian College should be supportive of young couples seeking to start families, not dismissive of their choices. James and her husband are now married and in need of a second income to support their child. I urge you to reconsider your decision to fire Teri James, offer her her job back, and apologize for your misstep.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Stefan Pasch via Flickr

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  1. Christians are so compassionate… Glad that Teri James has an attorney.

  2. I signed this because of the glaring discrimination displayed by hiring her now husband for the same position despite the fact he committed the same indiscretion. I’m fairly traditional in my Christian perspectives however, Christian Colleges need to learn to stop treating women differently than they treat men who sin. I don’t agree with a lot of the progressive jargon we have in out culture, but this is flat out crap. Men are morally culpable & need to be treated as such. It may be an unpopular view, but I agree with Mark Driscoll’s views on how to treat men & women. Many Christian organizations need to come into the 21st century & embrace the reality that women are not at fault for everything.

    If not for the glaring disparity between how men & women are treated in Christian organizations/communities, I would not have signed this because she signed a contract & agreed not to engage in any acts considered illicit by Christianity, even though I don’t think she should have had to sign such a contract because it lacks the grace afforded us by Jesus.

  3. hypocrites

  4. Thanks Gina, David and Beth, you’ve said it all.

  5. A Christian College??? Guess they were very close to the last pope in Rome which was also a hypocrite. Give that woman herjob back plus give her a raise !

    • Mm…Most Christian colleges have no relationship with the Vatican as they are not Catholic but Protestant. There’s no reason to give her a raise either. She should be able to sue for punitive damages/lost wages, but I think that all depends on how the college handles this case. If they don’t see their wrong, then I’d pursue it, but if they do acknowledge what they did discriminated against her for being pregnant before marriage, as a woman, then I think she should let that wrong pass. I don’t say that because she’s doesn’t deserve the damages, but because Christians should avoid taking lawsuits to court at all costs. Being as they claim to believe in Jesus and try to live as close to what the bible instructs, and refraining from court at all costs is in that instruction, they should try to reconcile in a private way after this is finished.

  6. KatWrangler says:

    What, Teri James’ fiance isn’t as “guilty” as she is?
    Shariah is alive and well right here in the good ol’ USA, and it ain’t the Taliban pushing it.
    Blame the woman, and the man gets away scot-free.

    I believe in the teachings of The Christ and The Buddha. There’s so much wisdom to learn from both those beautiful beings. Many of those who call themselves followers of The Christ don’t live by His one true law – “Love your neighbor as you love yourself”, and “Do unto others”… That’s ALL you need to know to live a good, compassionate life. No Bible neccesary.

    The Dalai Lama said, “If you want other people to be happy, practice compassion. If you want yourself to be happy, practice compassion.”

  7. Angela Maria de Souza says:

    As grávidas tem que ter o direito de permanecer no emprego e licença maternidade. Que país é este onde as mulheres são tratadas com tanta desumanidade.

  8. Linda Indyk says:

    How very “Christian” of San Diego Christian College! You can’t please these fundamentalists – they don’t want you to have an abortion and they’ll fire you if you happen to be unmarried and want to carry your pregnancy and give birth. Make up your minds, Fundamentalists!

  9. A teacher teaches from text books and by example. Allowing her to continue teaching as an unmarried person would send a message to the pupils that her actions were acceptable. They acted correctly in enforcing their contract. However they have now sent a message that condones the male partners obvious complicity, this is totally wrong and unacceptable.
    They are either both guilty or both innocent. If he is innocent then she must be innocent and should be reinstated the fact that he will carry no visible sign of the pregnancy has no bearing on the case, it was after all he that impregnated her and the pupils will certainly be aware of this.

  10. Sexual activity before marriage is still considered promiscuous behavior in most Christian Schools. “read your contract – read your contract.
    We can observe how current Public School problems almost didn’t exist when society as a whole understood this principle. How have we arrived at a place when “single” mothers are now victims and almost heroines. Secular Humanists / Liberals know destruction of the family unit is essential for destruction of society.

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