The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Ohio have filed a lawsuit on behalf of Springfield resident Jennifer Maudlin, a single mother of two, against Inside Out, a religiously-based community organization.
The lawsuit alleges that Inside Out fired Maudlin in September 2012 after she divulged that she was pregnant. The complaint cites a pattern of hostile treatment toward other unmarried women who became pregnant while working at the organization.
“I was a good worker who was just trying to support my family,” said Maudlin. “Losing my job just because I was expecting a baby is completely unfair.”
Inside Out’s employee handbook states that it does not discriminate “on account of race, sex, color, religion/creed, citizenship, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, or disability.” Maudlin’s job as a cook was non-ministerial. Her employer knew she was unmarried and already had a child when she was employed.
“Inside Out claims it has a gender-neutral policy against non-marital sex, but it only enforces it against pregnant women,” said Mie Lewis, senior staff attorney with the ACLU Women’s Rights Project. “By using pregnancy as a scarlet letter, Inside Out is breaking the law.”
According to the complaint, unmarried women who become pregnant while working at Inside Out face hostile treatment. Others who engage in non-marital sex are not subject to the same treatment.
“It’s patently unlawful for an employer to fire a woman for becoming pregnant,” said Freda Levenson, ACLU of Ohio Cooperating Attorney. “Jennifer should not have been punished by her employer just for bringing a child into the world.”
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