A former employee at San Diego Christian College claims administrators fired her after learning she had engaged in premarital sex with her then-fiancé, becoming pregnant out of wedlock, a violation of the school's contract with employees.
Attorneys for Teri James filed a federal lawsuit on Wednesday, February 12, accusing the Christian liberal arts college in Santee of employee and gender discrimination.
The school, which formed in 1972 as a research arm of the Christian Heritage College, relies heavily on Creation Science, a literal interpretation of the creation story, which holds that a supreme being intervened in the physical world to create the universe.
The school's "doctrinal position" states that "[a]ll things in the universe were created by God in the six days of special creation described in Genesis 1:1-2:3. The creation account is accepted as factual, historical, and clearly expressed, and thus foundational to the understanding of every fact and phenomenon in the created universe. Furthermore, all things that now exist are being sustained and ordered by God’s providential care, and this fact also is essential to the proper understanding of any truth."
According to the complaint, James, who worked at the private college over two years as a financial aid specialist, claims she was approached by her supervisor, Laurie Ague, dean of adult professional studies, amid rumors that James was pregnant. The two discussed a meeting with the dean of administration, Robert Jensen.
"It’s been called to our attention..." and then [she] stopped and said, "well, are you pregnant?" Miss James replied, "yes." Ms. Ague said, "Ok, well, that has ramifications because of the covenants we signed and [Jensen] wants to talk to you."
Later during the meeting, Jensen got right to the point.
"We're going to be judged...being in the Christian community" and then abruptly added, "Well, there's the relationship between you and [San Diego Christian College]. That relationship can no longer exist…. We're not firing you because you're pregnant. We're firing you because you had premarital sex."
The complaint then states that Jensen gave James a couple of options. The first; she could admit she was wrong and stay on the job until the end of the month. The other option; she could pack up her things and leave that day.
James was handed her notice later that day.
She is asking that the school reimburse her for lost wages as well as other punitive damages.
Representatives from San Diego Christian College were unable to provide comment in time for publication. The story will be updated if or when that occurs.