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$3.6M Awarded to Catholic Teacher for Pregnancy Discrimination

On November 1, 2018, a Los Angeles jury awarded Ms. Kourtney Liggins $3.6M in a case involving failure to provide reasonable accommodation, pregnancy discrimination, and retaliation.

Ms. Liggins was forced to return early from her maternity leave, which she claimed resulted in a decline in her performance because she had to tend to childcare-related issues.

Father Michael Tang, Pastor of Transfiguration School, allegedly fabricated complaints from parents about her tardiness and phone calls in class. Ms. Liggins testified that her tardiness was so she could nurse her baby and that the previous school principal was notified.

Ms. Liggins was also accused of poor teaching performance, which allegedly only became an issue during her pregnancy. Ms. Liggins had not received any prior criticism or complaints since she started teaching in 1998. During her pregnancy, Father Tang would allegedly continually refer to her baby as “it” because of her unwed status and even told her that her pregnancy would “morally corrupt” their students.

Emotionally distressed, Ms. Liggins complained of Father Tang’s treatment to the school’s human resources and to Bishop Gomez. No actions were allegedly taken to investigate Ms. Liggin’s complaints.

Father Tang and current Transfiguration School Principal, Evelyn Rickenbacker, ultimately decided not to renew Ms. Liggins contract in June 2013 because of her tardiness and reports of phone calls during class.

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