Supreme Court favors teacher who was fired after getting pregnant out of wedlock

Lian Buan
‘Jurisprudence has already set the standard of morality with which an act should be gauged – it is public and secular, not religious,’ the Supreme Court reiterates

ILLEGAL DISMISSAL. The Supreme Court rules in favor of a teacher who was fired after getting pregnant out of wedlock. Photo by Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC) ruled that a school in Baguio City committed illegal dismissal when it fired one of its teachers who got pregnant out of wedlock.

The SC said on Friday, February 22, that it had upheld an earlier decision of the Court of Appeals which ruled that teacher Charley Jane Dagdag was illegally dismissed by the Union School International.

Dagdag was teaching elementary classes at the Union School International, and was on probationary status, when she found out that she was 8 weeks pregnant.

Court records show that the school conducted a hearing, afterwhich Dagdag offered to resign.

“Dagdag then agreed to resign after she was apprised of the possible consequences if she will be dismissed from service as it might affect her next job application as compared to resigning,” the SC said in a press release on Friday.

The SC said Dagdag’s was a case of constructive dismissal because she was “compelled to give up her employment/position under the circumstances.”

“Although there was a conduct of a grievance meeting, its outcome was already predetermined as petitioners were already resolute in their decision to terminate Dagdag’s employment. This is evident by the fact that Dagdag was left with two choices – resignation or dismissal and threatening her with possible revocation of her teaching license,” said the SC.

Whether or not Dagdag’s pregnancy out of wedlock is considered disgraceful or immoral, the SC just reiterated a previous ruling where it said: “Jurisprudence has already set the standard of morality with which an act should be gauged – it is public and secular, not religious.”

The SC said that for the court to establish whether pre-marital sex or pregnancy out of wedlock is disgraceful or immoral, “there must be substantial evidence.”

Dagdag said that the father of her child was set to marry another woman.

The SC said “the totality of evidence in this case does not justify the dismissal of Dagdag from her employment considering that there was no legal impediment to marry between Dagdag and the father of her child at the time of conception.” – Rappler.com 

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.