11.23.2005

Mighty Christian of Them

NYCLU Files Complaint Against Catholic School For Firing Unmarried Pregnant Teacher

from NY1

The New York Civil Liberties Union has filed an official complaint to the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of a Queens teacher who says she was fired because she got pregnant out of wedlock.

St. Rose of Lima School terminated Michelle McCusker's contract last month, after she told school officials she was pregnant.

The NYCLU says McCusker was fired from the Rockaway Beach school, despite praise from the principal for her teaching abilities and "high degree of professionalism."

The NYCLU is asking the school to adopt a non-discrimination policy.

"I also don't understand how a religion that prides itself on being forgiving and on valuing life could terminate me because I'm pregnant and choosing to have this baby," McCusker said at a press conference Monday.

“Here we have a case of blatant pregnancy discrimination, which is both wrong and illegal," said the NYCLU’s Donna Lieberman.

The Brooklyn Diocese released a statement that reads, "This is a difficult situation for every person involved, but the school had no choice but to follow the principles contained in the teachers' personnel handbook."

The handbook requires teachers to follow the teachings of Catholic faith by their words and actions.

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