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California Christian school responds to lawsuit threats by suing

Credits: TONY CALDWELL/QMI AGENCY

QMI AGENCY

When two teachers threatened to sue a California Christian school for religious discrimination, the school responded by launching a lawsuit of its very own.

The teachers at the Little Oaks Private School in Little Oaks, CA were sacked after they refused to fill out a questionnaire proving their faith, NBC reports.

The questionnaire, a requirement since 2009, asks teachers if they attend church, which church they go to and how often they go.

The teachers worked at the school before, but were not rehired after they refused to fill out the forms last summer.

After getting sacked, Lynda Serrano and Mary Ellen Guevara filed paperwork for a lawsuit, arguing the school is for-profit and cannot legally discriminate based on religion.

"We do believe their personal rights were violated," the teachers' attorney, Dawn Coulson, told NBC.

But two can play that game.

The school launched its own lawsuit, saying the teachers are threatening the school's constitutional right to freedom of religion.

"The teachers chose not to (fill out the paperwork), and they knew it was a condition of employment," lawyer Rick Kahdeman said.

Coulson noted Little Oaks Private School is a for-profit school, purchased by the Godspeak Church.

"That would be like the church buying shares in IBM, and IBM saying, 'We can now discriminate, based on religion,'" Coulson said.

But Kahdeman said the US Constitution trumps state equal employment laws.

"That issue is totally irrelevant because the rights of the school come from the First Amendment to the Constitution," he said.


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