Evangelical Financial Guru Dave Ramsay has come under fire for terminating the employment of one of his staff members who became pregnant, an action he says isn’t tied to her pregnancy at all, but how she got pregnant in the first place.
Caitlin O’Connor, a former administrative assistant in the company filed a lawsuit against Ramsay alleging she was terminated for being pregnant. She says that she was let go after seeking paperwork on filing for maternity leave. She explains in her lawsuit:
Ramsey Solutions’s termination of Ms. O’Connor interfered with her right to take FMLA leave, discriminated against her due to her sex, pregnancy, religion, and disability, and was in retaliation for becoming pregnant, requesting FMLA, and/or her disabilities.
As a result of her termination, she is seeking a jury trial; a judgment against Ramsay Solutions on all counts; back pay and damages for lost benefits; reinstatement or front pay; compensatory damages for embarrassment, humiliation, stress, anxiety, inconvenience, and loss of enjoyment of life; punitive damages; and attorneys’ fees and expenses.
Lawyers for Ramsay say that she wasn’t fired for being pregnant, but rather for violating their company conduct policy which includes their long-standing “righteous living” section. This policy is applied evenly to all 800 employees and prohibits them from engaging in premarital sex, a policy that is freely acknowledged in her own lawsuit.
As a result of the lawsuit, court filings revealed that Ramsey Solutions took disciplinary action against at least 12 other employees for having sex before marriage in recent years, resulting in most of them quitting or resigning before they could be fired.
In fact, company lawyers say that they terminate every employee who engaged in premarital sex. And because Tennessee is an at-will state, they are more than protected. A Q&A on their company website makes this very clear, with Ramsay explaining:
We have a moral code of conduct at our office. I fire people if they have extramarital affairs. The hilarious thing is I put that on Twitter and people go, “Won’t you get sued for that?” Uh, no, you’re allowed to discriminate against infidelity. I’ve got a right to tell my employees whatever I want to tell them. They freaking work for me. This is an employment-at-will state, which means if I decide I don’t like people with green eyes, I don’t have to hire you. I don’t have to keep you anymore.
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