After Coty Richardson, a professor at Northwest Christian University, announced her pregnancy last May, her employer responded not with congratulations but demands. To keep her job at this century-old private institution in Eugene, Oregon, the professor needed to either deem the pregnancy a mistake and part ways with the child’s father (also her boyfriend of twelve years), or marry him.
Asking for privacy regarding her personal life, Richardson refused to comply. Unceremoniously, on July 22, she received a termination letter from Dennis Lindsay, a former “bible lecturer” who now serves as NCU’s vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty. The fundamental reason for her dismissal, Richardson learned, boiled down to this: sex outside marriage goes against NCU’s “core values.”
Now, Richardson is striking back. On Tuesday, she filed a $650,000 lawsuit with the Lane County Circuit Court detailing a number of injustices including civil rights violations, employment discrimination, wrongful termination, repudiation of contract, and emotional distress.
Apparently, even before Richardson was pregnant, Lindsay expressed his (probably unsolicited) opinion that mothers of children conceived outside wedlock set a “bad example” by remaining in a relationship with the father.
Notably, Richardson is a Christian and a single mother to two children who has worked full-time in NCU’s exercise science program since August 2011. She and her boyfriend, who lives in Washington State, are expecting their first child together in November. As the lawsuit explains, it’s perfectly acceptable within the Christian faith to delay marriage until both parties “are financially, practically and emotionally ready.”
Moreover, Richardson’s lawsuit details male co-workers becoming fathers out of wedlock and – get this – NOT losing their jobs!
Images courtesy of Flickr and NCU/Coty Richardson
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