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Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Ind. Decisions - "In vitro case ruled fit for trial: Diocese arguments rejected"

Updating this ILB post from yesterday, Rebecca S. Green reports today in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette - the story begins:

With a ruling Monday afternoon from the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, a case stemming from the use of in vitro fertilization by a local Roman Catholic school teacher will head to trial later this month.

On Monday, the federal court in Chicago ruled the Fort Wayne-South Bend Catholic Diocese did not meet the high bar to be spared the risks inherent with going to trial.

The move lets stand an earlier ruling by U.S. District Judge Robert L. Miller Jr. in September. He ruled that the Fort Wayne-South Bend Catholic Diocese might have discriminated against a former language arts teacher when it did not renew her contract after she underwent in vitro fertilization.

Miller ruled the diocese did not violate Emily Herx’s rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act because she sought treatment for infertility.

But because those treatments were related to her gender, her termination might have been an act of sexual discrimination, the judge said.

He also denied the diocese’s defenses that its actions were protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution. In addition, Miller found the teachings of the church regarding in vitro fertilization were not gender-neutral.

The diocese also appealed his decision that the diocese’s beliefs about in vitro fertilization, its morality and how those beliefs are applied to employees should be presented to a jury.

Herx sued the diocese in spring 2012, claiming she had been the victim of discrimination when diocesan officials fired her from her teaching job at St. Vincent de Paul School in Fort Wayne after she underwent in vitro fertilization.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on December 2, 2014 10:29 AM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions