Wrongful Termination Suit Results in $3M For Catholic School Teacher

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A California jury recently awarded over $3.5 million to a former Catholic school teacher, Kourtney Liggins, who alleged that the Archdiocese of Los Angeles fired her from her position as the science teacher at LA’s Transfiguration School for being pregnant and unwed. Kourtney Liggins’ lawsuit alleged wrongful termination and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Transfiguration School is a Catholic parochial school that is linked with the Church of Transfiguration. The Transfiguration School was founded in 1832 by Varela. It was opened for registration to children of any religion/faith in 1969. The Transfiguration School has higher than average academic standards and was the winner of the National Blue Ribbon Schools Award in 2011. 

Legal Definitions:

Wrongful Termination – A situation in which an employee’s contract of employment is terminated by the employer and the termination breaches one or more terms of the contract of employment, a statute provision, or employment law.

Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress – A situation in which an individual or entity acts abominably or outrageously with the intention of causing another to suffer severe emotional distress. It often occurs in the form of a vocal threat of future harm.

Major news outlets reported that jurors were in deliberation for less than a day before they announced their decision – finding in favor of Kourtney Liggins, ex-science teacher for the Catholic school in Los Angeles.

The panel of jurors found the archdiocese and Reverend Michael Tang, former pastor of the Church of the Transfiguration, liable in the case. Liggins, now 48 years old, says that when the situation occurred in 2012, she was seven months pregnant. Tang took her aside and advised her that her pregnancy would “morally corrupt” her science students there at the school. In 2013, her teaching contract was not renewed.

If you have been wrongfully terminated or are experiencing discrimination in the workplace, please get in touch with one of the California employment law attorneys at Blumenthal Nordrehaug Bhowmik De Blouw LLP.