Montana Pregnant Teacher Sues: Educator Fired Over Pregnancy Sues Catholic School

August 24, 2014 | By Garrett Montgomery More

Montana Pregnant Teacher Sues

Montana teacher sues the catholic schools that fired her because she got pregnant. The former teacher named Shaela Evenson is suing the Montana Catholic school, claiming that she was dismissed due to the fact she is a lesbian and had a baby out of wedlock.

Teacher from Montana sues school officials who fired her after receiving an anonymous letter that revealed that she was pregnant, unwed and gay.

In January, while she was five months pregnant with her first child, Shaela Evenson received an email from her employers for an urgent meeting.

On January 9th, Evenson sat down with the Superintendent of Butte Central Catholic Schools, Patrick Haggarty, who told her that she had to resign immediately. The then-pregnant teacher asked why.

Haggarty explained that the Roman Catholic Diocese of Helena received a letter that stated that she was pregnant via artificial insemination.

The head of the schools went on to say that the document also revealed, she was unwed and had been living with her female partner Marilyn Tobin.

Her boss told her that despite being a great teacher for the past 9 years, she is strongly advised to quit.

She refused and continued to teach literature and physical education to 6th, 7th and 8th graders.

Two days later, she received an e-mail saying that she had been fired.

In the e-mail, the teacher was blasted for being a lesbian and was reminded that her decision to be with another woman was against the word of God. She was also told that she failed to have an exemplary life style for her students.

The ex-teacher’s lawyer Brian Butler who won $170,000 for a client in a similar case, blasted the officials of the religious schools, saying that they knew she was a lesbian for 9 years, so, why were they pretending to be surprised when they got the letter?

Butler is certain that the jury will side with the former teacher because she is protected from discrimination under the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The head of the schools fought back saying they had the right to fire the teacher because she failed to respect the morality clause in her contract.

For some unknown reason male instructors are not investigated on those morality clauses, says Evenson’s lawyer.


Category: News

Comments (16)

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  1. DuchessofDownton says:

    It amazes me the schools that graduate lawyers these days. This lawyer is priming himself for a precedent setting loss.

    Check your Civil Rights Act of 1964 including Title VII, Affinity (sexual orientation) is NOT protected. States may pass their own affinity laws but being gay is NOT PROTECTED by Title VII.

    Additionally, being pregnant or bearing children is also NOT PROTECTED by the Constitution or by the CRA 1964; Title VII.

    ALSO, while her gender IS protected under Title VII, she didn’t lose her job because she is a woman. Her (fool) lawyer would have to prove that the school discriminated against her because she is a woman or because she got pregnant.

    The school did neither. Private religious schools are protected against discrimination claims if and when their mission statement and core values state that you must live a certain way or be an exemplary member of society and lead an exemplary life. The Catholic religion, right or wrong, does not endorse homosexual lifestyles or out of wedlock pregnancies.

    No, they do not insist she get an abortion so don’t go there either. What they will most likely prove is that this teacher signed a contract with a morals clause and she has violated it by openly flaunting her homosexual lifestyle and becoming pregnant out of wedlock. She lives a lifestyle that is not in accordance to the religious morals clause in the contract she signed. She knew it. Some lawyer told her he could get her a wild payday if they canned her, she bought into it and here we are.

    Check your Human Resources Employment Law, people. You can be fired from your job if your behavior is not in keeping with the mission statement and core values of the company you work for. She will lose this case.

    • Mogan says:

      The problem is that for 9 years the school knew that she was violating the moral clause. I don’t think it is because she is pregnant but how she became pregnant – artificial insemination. As for why male teachers are not help up to the same standards as female teachers? They can’t get pregnant.
      This lawyer did win a similar case, about a year ago. The real problem is that religious institutions can discriminate on religious grounds. So, we’ll see.

      • Ken says:

        He might have gotten a jury to award a person something. But that case is being appealed. And once you get the jury out of the picture, the judges make the final rulings and base it on other rulings and law (not emotions like a jury). Notice how Butler is based in Ohio … yet this women in Montana had to reach out to him to take the case. Every other decent lawyer told her she doesn’t stand a chance after the Jury phase so give it up.

    • Bill Fitzpatrick says:

      Unless the school can prove they investigate men about their morality clause, they could have a problem, because at that point it becomes a gender bias issue.

    • evonne says:

      I doubt it. Pretty sure she’ll win this one. Just wait and see.

    • KnR says:

      She worked at a Catholic School, she was a mentor and was to set an example of their beliefs. I agree with her being let go, but only until after the birth and “unpaid” maternity leave. Paid maternity leave should not have to be provided by an employer, it was your choice to get pregnant, and why should an employer have to pay for that choice. If you can’t afford to take unpaid time off for maternity leave, you have no right having a child you can’t afford. And I am a woman!

    • William Fuller says:

      She got pregnant didn’t she and by today’s standards her lifestyle isn’t that immoral and if you do more research you’ll find their have been laws passed to give gays rights or maybe you haven’t been paying attention for the last decade. I’m not gay but they cannot help being the way they are so give them a break and afford them every right they should have including the right to not being fired because they’re gay.

  2. John Williams says:

    Here we go again…quit probably knew you’d get fired if you got pregnant and weren’t married. So you did it anyway and further you came out a your whinning..get over it. You asking someone else to pay for your lifestyle..quit sticking your hand out expecting something for free and saying “hey, it’s not my fault I lost my job, it’s theirs for trying to instill some proper morals in todays youth. You people make me sick and tired of the “gimme” attitude presently abounding in this country.

    • tina reggler says:

      what about all the priests that were molesting little boys and the church protected them, a woman gets pregnant and is fired- talk about double standards

  3. William Fuller says:

    The Catholic Church is founded and based on the books Constantine allowed to be put into the Bible. He only allowed those that would help keep the empire more stable and easier to rule. He ordered all other books to be destroyed but many were not and were hidden away. Many of these books have been found, such as the Dead Sea Scrolls, and many others are coming to light, such as the book of Judas, and others. If all these books and all the teachings of Jesus were in the Bible the Church might see things different today.

  4. tina reggler says:

    amazing- priests molest little boys and the church covers it up, a woman gets pregnant and they fire her – I hope she gets millions in her lawsuit.

  5. Ken says:

    When are these people going to realize .. you work for a RELIGIOUS institution. And so the rules for such institutions are different that the rest of the business world. Religious beliefs and practices even in private some into play in any decisions they make on your employment. Look at this summers Supreme Court ruling on privately owned businesses providing contraceptives that they consider to cause an abortion (and hence against their religious beliefs). Now given that a privately held business was given this pass, how in the world do you expect that a religious institution like a Catholic School will ever be held accountable? Even if your lawyer finds some sap liberal judges to rule initially in your favor at the local or even state court levels (where sometimes they have to consider voters and the next election), once it gets to the Federal court level those judges will look over the case, compare it to Supreme Court rulings … and promptly rule against you.

    • Bill Fitzpatrick says:

      And there lies the problem, the Catholic church has never been held accountable. They should not be considered tax exempt, non-profits do not collect a treasure of fine art, real estate, gold and jewels. Nor do they protect criminals.

      • Bill Fitzpatrick says:

        Any organization that wishes to be exempt from government rules on employment should not be tax exempt.

        • George Camisa says:

          Anti Catholic bias would be called bigotry if aimed at any other institution. The Catholic church is the du jour politically correct group for targeting. Some of it is self-inflicted, but To quote Marc Antony in Julius Caesar, “The good is oft interred”. You would not expect someone working for a Muslim or Jewish organization to be forced to serve pork. You would not force a Baptist organization to allow drinking alcohol on their premises. Why is it any different to expect people who CHOOSE to work for a Catholic organization, to abide by its rules?

  6. jovonneb says:

    I do not have a dog in this fight but why do these people work at these kind of schools for? There are other schools to work at where you can do whatever you want. You know what kind of place it is before you work there. Can’t force or sue your beliefs on people/organizations. Seems like she planned on scamming the school out of money in the first place.

    This is not fair to other organizations who have their own “moralities” or what not.

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