Union in plea for sacked teacher

CALOUNDRA Christian College has been urged to show "Christian compassion" and withdraw its termination notice of pregnant kindergarten teacher Jessica Davidson.

The call came from the Independent Education Union of Australia Queensland branch, which is considering legal action on behalf of Ms Davidson.

Ms Davidson was given notice in mid-April that her employment would be terminated in June on the basis of a "lifestyle breach" in that she was pregnant and unmarried.

Union branch secretary Terry Burke said the school was "carefully and deliberately relying on the exemption provision in the Anti-Discrimination Act".

If taken to the courts, this could become a test case for the provisions in the Act.

Mr Burke said the union had written to the school and was hoping compassion would be shown.

He said Ms Davidson "wants to stay at the school - she likes the school".

Mr Burke said if she lost her job it would be hard to find a new one as her baby is due in September.

"It will also deny her legitimate paid maternity leave," he said.

The Daily's website was choked with more than 200 comments yesterday, mostly from people angry at the school's stance.

An online poll was more evenly divided. Nearly 40% said that people employed at religious schools should adhere to "lifestyle rules".

Suncoast Christian Outreach Centre pastor Chas Gullo said any organisation should be entitled to uphold its values.

"If someone agrees to uphold the values of a company and then violates them, what other values will they contravene?" he said

"I'm supportive of any company - whether it is government, school or an organisation - setting values which it upholds."

School principal Mark Hodges said Ms Davidson's sacking was not related to the pregnancy but "rather a breach in the lifestyle clause".

Mr Burke said Ms Davidson could not be dismissed because she was pregnant as this "would be a breach of the law".

"Rather, the school is asserting she is in breach of a lifestyle undertaking and its actions are allowed under the exemption provisions in the Act," he said.

Topics:  caloundra christian college employment pregnant teacher union

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  • redsnake · Boreen Point Report

    real christian ethic, didn't someone "important" say don't judge lest you be judged

    6 years ago

      Wide_Boy · Southside Report

      Yes. That was in a fairy tale I was force-fed as a child.

      6 years ago

  • caught · Sunshine Coast & Region Report

    Judging by yesterday's flood of emails, the community believes the school is uncaring.

    Their explanation that it is not the pregnancy but her cohabitation which they find offensive opens a hornets nest. Do they spy on all their staff to ensure strict compliance with their interpretation of the bible?

    6 years ago

      Dazzatsurf92 · Sippy Downs Report

      Uncaring is to apply no standards when it comes to who we allow to influence our children. Uncaring is to just NOT care about the private lives of those who work intimately with growing and developing young people for six-eight hours a day. Uncaring is to look the other way if someone breaches an agreement which every other staff member of an institution abides by.

      The standards applied to, and expected of staff of this and other schools are there for a reason - to protect children.

      As for 'spying' ... I'd imagine all this came up in conversation ... you know how women love to talk about pregnancies and babies.

      6 years ago

      RickyC · Nambour Report

      You don't get it, do you? This is an employer who is enforcing rules on staff based on a big book of fairy tales!
      It's about as sensible as if Cadbury were to start sacking people who don't believe in the easter bunny (or easter bilby)?
      It's time these archaic institutions were dragged in to the 21st century and given a big dose of reality to chew on! My taxes fund them so I'd like to see a bit of value for money... can't see that in teaching kids fairy stories nor can I see it in treating staff 'differently' to any other workplace.
      Ah be damned, I'm starting a religion of my own... easy tax rorts here I come!

      6 years ago

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