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Teacher can sue Catholic school for wrongful termination

Working for a religious school as opposed to a public school can pose unique scenarios related to anti-discrimination laws. The separation of church and state may work to protect certain organizations from being sued for discrimination. However, Colorado residents who work for religious organizations or schools may be interested in a recent case of a teacher who has been granted the go-ahead to sue a Catholic school for wrongful termination.

The 45-year-old teacher is gay. According to a lawsuit being pursued, the teacher’s sexual orientation was common knowledge among the staff, administration and the students. The teacher was terminated from his job weeks after a picture of his wedding was featured in a newspaper article.

A wrongful termination suit was launched shortly after he lost his job. However, the school held the position that the constitutional right of separation of church and state meant the teacher had no grounds for such a suit. A judge rejected that notion and supported the teacher’s right to pursue the suit. There is currently a petition with almost 50,000 signatures that calls for the reinstatement of the teacher to his teaching position with the school.

Now that the teacher has the legal right to pursue a wrongful termination suit, the process itself can be difficult and challenging under any circumstances. A wrongful termination suit in Colorado or any other state may hinge on evidence, witness testimony or documentation of some sort. There are also varying outcomes that may be possible, such as back pay or reinstatement of a job and benefits. Anyone thinking of pursuing a wrongful termination suit may want to explore what their rights are and what the possible outcome may be.

Source: CBS Los Angeles, "Judge: Gay Catholic School Teacher Reportedly Fired For Marrying Partner Can Sue School", , June 18, 2014

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