SUNBURY — Lourdes Regional English teacher Naiad Reich, fired after she revealed she was pregnant and didn't plan to immediately marry, has sued the Diocese of Harrisburg, Bishop Ronald Gainer and Sister Mary Anne Bednar, Lourdes principal.
In the suit filed Friday in Northumberland County Court, Reich, through attorney Timothy A. Bowers, makes four counts against the defendants, including breach of contract and interference with contractual relations.
The filing also seeks a preliminary injunction that would "immediately reinstate" her employment pending further order of the court.
Reich, 31, of Coal Township, was fired Nov. 30 by Bednar a few days after Reich told her that she and her boyfriend, Matt Graboski, are expecting a child in June and are not planning to marry at this time.
Policy language for diocese employees says “procreation outside of marriage” is not permitted, and that punishment may include “counseling, admonition, the completion of corrective action, suspension or termination of employment.”
Reich challenged the firing, but the diocese in December denied her appeal.
It was previously reported by Lourdes board member Tony Varano, who has called for Reich to be reinstated, that Gainer, in his letter to Reich informing her of the appeal denial, told her she would be paid through the end of the school year. That letter, included as evidence in the lawsuit, also says Gainer wanted to be sure Reich had health care insurance through her pregnancy, and said her insurance would remain in effect through July.
The firing generated considerable public debate ranging from support for Reich and disdain for the diocese to criticism of Reich for violating and yet challenging the terms of her employment.