A California court recently awarded over $3.5 million to a school teacher in a wrongful termination lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. The court ordered a pastor in the Archdiocese to pay an additional $87 thousand in punitive damages to the plaintiff.
California resident, Kourtney Liggins, was teaching science at Transfiguration Elementary School when she found out she was pregnant in 2012. However, the Catholic school did not renew her contract to resume teaching in 2013. According to a report, the pastor at the Church of the Transfiguration told her that her students would be “morally corrupted” by her pregnancy.
Liggins filed a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the pastor later that year. She alleged that the reason for her termination was because she was pregnant and not married.
The Archdiocese denied the allegations. Instead, the defense argued two main points. First, the Archdiocese claimed it provided Liggins various accommodations when she announced her pregnancy. Second, counsel argued the reason for firing Liggins was due to lateness and poor performance.
When it came time for the verdict, it took the jury under an hour to find the Archdiocese and the pastor liable for wrongful termination and intentional infliction of emotional distress. According to NBC News, the jury found the pastor treated Liggins with “oppression, malice, and fraud.”
The plaintiff hopes her case will inspire others to come forward with claims of wrongful termination. If you feel that you were wrongfully fired by your company, consider speaking with an experienced employment law attorney to help you seek the compensation you deserve.