A professor has filed a lawsuit against a New Jersey college for allegedly punishing her when she became pregnant for the fifth time by declining to renew her contract.
The case, Jane Doe v. The College of New Jersey, accuses the professor’s superiors of giving her negative reviews, assigning her to lower-level classes, and eventually denying the renewal of her contract. The professor, whose name has not been released to protect her privacy, began working at the college shortly after giving birth to her third child, according to NJ.com. She said that her bosses were happy that she was done having children because other professors they had recently hired were pregnant. However, the professor was not finished having children.
According to the lawsuit, after she became pregnant with her fourth and then fifth child, college officials began asking her if she was “done having more children.” She said her previously glowing reviews from her superiors were suddenly negative. She was also given less desirable, lower-level classes to teach. She alleges they falsely claimed she canceled classes and they created fake student comments all in order to not renew her contract in 2019.
The professor said that as a result, she “suffered emotional trauma, became depressed, and had a miscarriage.” Her case has been tied up for years because she did not want her name to be attached to the lawsuit in order to protect her academic reputation, however, the court ruled she had to give her name. In May, she attached her name to the court papers but asked that NJ Advance Media not reveal her identity.
No matter what career path, women have been treated differently or threatened with job loss when they announce they are pregnant. Actress Charisma Carpenter came forward in early 2021 alleging that “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel” creator Joss Whedon mistreated her because of her pregnancy and her religion. She said he called her “fat” during her pregnancy and in a closed-door meeting asked if she was “going to keep it.” He also threatened to fire her.
Legalized abortion has led to the belief that women can simply abort their babies in order to keep their careers intact. But women should never be forced to choose between their job and their child. Women are capable of being both successful mothers and employees, and true feminism celebrates them for doing so.
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