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Legal Options for Former Roncalli Guidance Counselor Limited

Legal Correspondent Abdul Hakim-Shabazz Joins Hammer & Nigel to Explain

(RTV6/Getty Images)

A Roncalli High School teacher says she was asked to resign her position after school leaders found out she is married to a woman.

Shelly Fitzgerald, who has been working at Roncalli for 15 years, said she has been in a relationship with a woman for 22 years and had until now kept her private life away from the school.

The relationship became public knowledge after someone obtained a copy of her marriage license and turned it in to Roncalli administrator, Joe Hallowell, who then gave it to the archbishop of Indianapolis and the superintendent.

Fitzgerald alleges she was subsequently pressured to resign.

Hammer and Nigel spoke with WIBC legal analyst Abdul-Hakim Shabazz Monday, who said Fitzgerald's options might be limited due to her employer's classification as a 'religious employer.'

Abdul:

"It begins with whether you are a religious employer or an employer who happens to be religious. Roncalli is a religious employer. Now the issue goes to whether your actions go to bonafide parts of your faith or is there something else going on.

For example, you can be the Catholic church and we don't believe in same-sex marriage, so if you're involved in that type of relationship, they are within their legal rights to terminate your employment. Conversely, they can't fire you if you're black or because you're a woman."

Click the link below to hear Hammer and Nigel's full interview with Abdul:
 

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