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Suit against Catholic diocese alleging firing after fertility treatment proceeds

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A former teacher who claims her contract at St. Vincent de Paul School in Fort Wayne was not renewed because she underwent in vitro fertilization treatments may proceed with a suit against the Catholic diocese.

Federal Judge Robert L. Miller Jr. on Monday dismissed the diocese’s motion for judgment on the pleadings and lifted a stay on discovery in Emily Herx v. Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend Inc. and St. Vincent de Paul School, 1:12-CV-122, in the District Court for the Northern District of Indiana in Fort Wayne.

Emily Herx sued in April under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act. She claims she was let go after teaching literature for nearly eight years because she underwent in vitro fertilization treatments to try to have a baby.  

The suit alleges that when Herx requested time off in 2011 for a second fertilization treatment, she was asked to meet with Monsignor John Kuzmich, the pastor of St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church. The suit claims Kuzmich said another teacher had complained and that afterward Herx’s contract was not renewed because of “improprieties related to church teachings or law.”

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission determined the school terminated Herx’s employment in violation of Title VII after she filed a discrimination complaint.

Miller also on Monday set a telephone status and scheduling hearing for 10 a.m. March 21 before Magistrate Judge Roger Cosbey.

 

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