(GOOGLE) — After fourth-grade teacher Jarretta Hamilton went to the principal of her Christian school with the news she was pregnant, he responded: You’re fired.
Her lawsuit against the school came before the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday, and the three-judge panel is wrestling with its decision.
A lawyer for Hamilton argued that she’s the victim of discrimination, that the principal fired her because she was pregnant and her maternity leave was going to be inconvenient for the school. A lawyer for the school countered that the school has a right to fire someone who violates its moral code and raised a recent Supreme Court decision that acknowledged the existence of an exception to anti-discrimination laws for churches.
Hamilton was teaching at the nondenominational Southland Christian School in St. Cloud, Fla., in February 2009, when she married Samuel Treftz. About two months later, she and her husband met with principal Jon Ennis to request maternity leave. During the meeting, Hamilton told Ennis the baby was conceived before the two were married. Hamilton was fired a short time later.
What led to the firing is at the heart of the legal feud.