Based On The First Amendment Right To Freely Exercise Religion, An Oregon Trial Court Judge Dismissed A Wrongful Discharge Lawsuit By A Teacher Against The Religious School That Fired Her For Violating Its Moral Code.
John Kaempf, the author of this newsletter, successfully defended a lawsuit against a Catholic school and its private investigator brought by a religion teacher at the school.
The unmarried teacher was fired for admittedly having premarital sex in violation of Catholic doctrine. The defendant school hired the co-defendant investigator to evaluate the plaintiff’s claim that she was raped by a co-worker.
The school obtained the plaintiff’s consent to the investigation, where the plaintiff admitted that she
engaged in consensual premarital sex with her co-worker. Both employees were fired.
The trial court dismissed the case based on the First Amendment right to freely exercise religion. The
court also granted the defendants’ motion to require the plaintiff, an adult at the time of the events at
issue, to use her real name in the lawsuit (rather than the pseudonym she requested).
Therefore, through going on offense in the investigation stage and during the lawsuit, the defendants succeeded in having the case dismissed based on the First Amendment without the time, expense, or publicity of a trial.
Thus, religious schools, churches, and other religious organizations facing similar claims by their
employees should consider going on offense in the same way to protect their First Amendment right to hire and fire their employees consistent with their religious beliefs without being subject to civil liability.