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Gay schoolteacher believes he was fired for marrying his partner

We live in a progressive society that is making rapid leaps when it comes to equality. Unfortunately, while public perception may be shifting, the change may not be as quick in the professional field. California is an “at-will” employment state, which means that most employers can fire their employees “at-will.” This power is sometimes abused, as employers may simply fire employees for disagreeing with their beliefs or as an act of discrimination. Fortunately, while the law allows for termination that may be considered unfair, it does not allow for termination that is considered unlawful.

A schoolteacher is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages for what he alleges was wrongful termination based on his decision to marry his gay partner. The teacher began working at St. Lucy’s Priory High School in Glendora in 1998. After 15 years of teaching a wide array of subjects, including dance and English, the teacher was fired less than a month after marrying his partner.

The suit states that the teacher’s sexual orientation was common knowledge from the moment he was hired. According to the suit, the teacher met with an administrator, believing that the meeting was to discuss the upcoming school year. Instead, the administrator informed him that, despite her opinion that he was an exceptional teacher, his employment was being terminated.

Even though same-sex marriage is legal in California, there are still some people who disapprove. People in a position of power may abuse their authority to fire employees who live lifestyles they disagree with. Being discriminated against in this way, however, may warrant a wrongful termination lawsuit. While it is not always easy to do so, successfully arguing your case could entitle you to compensation.

Source: San Gabriel Valley Tribune, “Fired gay Glendora Catholic schoolteacher sues St. Lucy’s Priory,” March 13, 2014

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