Hamilton v. Southern Christian School, Inc, No. 11-13696 (11th Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff, a teacher at a small Christian school, appealed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the school on her pregnancy discrimination claim, under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. 2000e et seq., contending that she had established a prima facie case of unlawful discrimination. After admitting to the school's administrator and assistant administrator that she conceived the child before getting married, the school fired her, purportedly because she had sinned by engaging in premarital sex, and, as the administrator put it, "there are consequences for disobeying the word of God." Because the school did not raise any issue or make any argument in its brief about the ministerial exception, the court would not decide whether that exception might apply. The court found that plaintiff's testimony contradicted the administrator's testimony that he had never heard her say she was sorry for what she had done and that he would not have fired her if she had. For that and other reasons, plaintiff had established a genuine issue of material fact about the reason that the school fired her. Accordingly, the court reversed the grant of summary judgment on the pregnancy discrimination claim and remanded for further proceedings.