The Catholic Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend asked Monday for a federal court to throw out a former St. Vincent de Paul Catholic School teacher's lawsuit claiming the diocese discriminated against her because she was getting fertility treatments.
In papers filed Monday in the U.S. District Court for northern Indiana, the diocese argued it did not discriminate against Emily Herx, of Hoagland, claiming its First Amendment rights to handle matters based on its religious beliefs.
“Herx's claim against the Diocese, as a religious employer, are barred, in whole or in part…under the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States due to the religious content, purpose and meaning of her employment with the Diocese,” the papers said.
Herx's lawsuit claims the diocese discriminated against her by terminating her contract in April 2011 because she was undergoing in vitro fertilization. Herx taught at the school from 2003 through 2007 and again from 2008 until spring 2011. She started in vitro fertilization treatments in 2010, according to the lawsuit.
The diocese also denied the Rev. John Kuzmich, pastor of St. Vincent de Paul, ever called Herx a “grave, immoral sinner” as she alleged in her lawsuit, according to the court documents.
The diocese has asked the court to dismiss Herx's lawsuit, according to the papers.