Christa Dias, a teacher who was fired from a Catholic school for violating her contract is suing the Archdiocese of Cincinnati for unlawful termination. Dias was terminated for seeking artificial insemination which is against Church teaching.
Teachers who apply for jobs in a Catholic diocese must sign a contract in which they promise to abide by the Church’s teachings. The Supreme Court in the Hosanna-Tabor case ruled that religious institutions can terminate employees and the courts cannot interfere in their employment decisions.
Despite this Supreme Court ruling, the lawsuit was won by Dias and she was awarded over $171,000 by the jury. Her attorney argued that she was fired because she was not married and pregnant. The archdiocese of Cincinnati disputes this by claiming that her termination was solely based on her breach of contract. The archdiocese of Cincinnati will be appealing the decision.
This case is disturbing indeed. It shows how religious freedom is being undermined. What good are contracts if courts can easily dissolve them? How can employers keep order in their places of employment if juries can step in and tell them how to run their business? Christa Dias was aware of what the contract stated and accepted. She was under contract. It is obvious that the jury decided the case based on pity and a lack of understanding of how contracts work.
I hope the appeal overturns this decision and protects the religious freedom of the archdiocese of Cincinnati. It is not fair that an employee applies for a job, reads and accepts the job’s contract and then breaches it and is awarded for that breach. What is America’s legal system coming to?