A private high school hires a new superintendent, George Forester. The school is owned by a local Lutheran church and is run by a board of directors chosen by church members. Supt. Forester shows up for his first day of work and sends a memo via intercompany mail to all teachers:
There is a new sheriff in town – and it is me. As your new leader, I am implementing a dress code that includes no slacks or shorts for women and no earrings for male teachers. Men shall all be clean shaven. Violators will be docked 1 week’s pay; second offenses will result in a 1 week suspension without pay and third offenses, dismissal. All teachers will address me as “Pastor Forester” or “Amen, Pastor Forester.” Teachers who fail to abide by these dictates will be docked two points on their annual evaluations. Amen, Pastor Forester.”
That day, one teacher, Anna Seenandfeld has a birthday party at the school, having just turned 40. Her frown at the party shows everyone she is not happy about her party. Pastor Forestor had bought black balloons for her and jokes with the other teachers about the “over the hill” teacher. The next day, Pastor Forester goes into the teacher’s lounge and calls all nontenured teachers into his office. He tells them that he has assigned himself to be their mentoring teacher and that effectively immediately they will be evaluated weekly. One teacher, Anna Seenandfeld, begins to cry. Another teacher, Andy DuFrane, rolls his eyes and says, “God! These menopausal women should not be allowed around our students.” Pastor Forester goes to Anna and hugs her, offering her a tissue. He pats her gently on the behind and whispers, “Act your age, please.” When she forcefully pulls away from him, Pastor Forester assigns her to work Saturday detention for the next 3 weeks to “toughen her up.”
A pregnant P.E. teacher, Lisa Ready, is reassigned by Pastor Forester to a math position (even though she has only three credits in math) because Pastor Forester says this position is “less strenuous for a pregnant lady.”
On the third week of detention duty, a student stabs Anna, wounding her severely. Although she survives and recovers, she loses one kidney as a result of the injury. The school doesn’t offer health insurance, and Anna incurs over $55,000 for her hospital bills; the student (and his family) is insolvent.
One month later, a parent complains about his student being unable to succeed in his math course due to the teacher’s (Lisa’s) incompetence, Pastor Forester fires Lisa Ready for her inability to perform her job. Pastor Forester tells Lisa in front of her class of students, and then walks her out of the building; 2 hours later, Lisa goes into premature labor and delivers her first son, who has severe health issues as a result of being premature. The baby’s doctor states the cause of early labor as being from “intense duress and undue stress.” Lisa’s husband’s health insurance covers all of the costs of the birth and the baby’s care.
Pastor Forester is really not a pastor. His real name is Jerry Birches, a parolee with convictions for child molestation. His parole agreement prohibits him being closer than 1,000 feet to any school. In order to cut costs, the school had stopped doing background checks on new employees, and this slipped through the cracks. This comes to the attention of the school board, and the president of the board of directors immediately fires Pastor “Jerry Birches” Forester and notifies his parole officer of the violations. Pastor Forester claims the board knew about his background because one member of the board (his aunt Theresa) knew the truth.
1. TCO E. Anna and Lisa both sue Pastor Forester and the school under Title VII. Analyze their Title VII lawsuit against the school and Pastor Forester. Explain whether you feel that the two injured teachers have cases for recovery (describe the theories and whether you feel they will be successful). Discuss whether the school being a religious, private school has any bearing on liability or protection from liability. Include all defenses available to the school and Pastor Forester. (Points: 30)