DENVER (CBS4) – A woman says she was fired by Colorado Christian University because of a choice she made in her private life, and now she’s suing.
Colorado Christian University is a small Christian-based college. The staff and the students say they are expected to follow a strict code of behavior. But the question is, does that legally apply to one’s off-campus and private life?
Colorado Christian University has a school policy stating that all students and staff are expected to be strong and strict Christians. Former employee Ashlie Simpson says the school recently questioned her faith.
“I was accused of living in sin with my boyfriend,” Simpson said, and admitted she was living with her boyfriend.
She said after that conversation she was promptly fired.
“I never let it affect my job; it was not something that I advertised or broadcasted in my work whatsoever,” Simpson said.
“This particular woman was let go for performance reasons, and secondly, I think we have every legal right to discharge someone for living with their boyfriend,” Steve Miller with Colorado Christian University said.
Miller said the college clearly spells out moral expectations for students and staff.
“One is a lifestyle covenant, which basically commits you to not doing those things,” Miller said. “And secondly is a statement of faith.”
Simpson referenced one campus handbook that says the Christian agreement is not legally binding. Some students say legal or not, certain behaviors are not appropriate at the college.
“I think it sets a bad example for all of the students. I think if they ask us to do a certain thing, which this is definitely something they would ask of us, then they need to do the same thing in their own personal life,” a student told CBS4.
Still, Simpson is taking what she calls her off-campus Christian romance all the way to the secular court.
“Loving my boyfriend doesn’t mean I love God any less,” she said.
School officials say those who don’t want to follow the Christian values set out in their handbook don’t work or attend college there.