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Jewish School Fires Teacher For Living With Boyfriend

A teacher working at a Jewish nursery school was fired after her employer learned that she's not married to her live-in boyfriend. The teacher says that she was interrogated for an hour by her bosses and was 'humiliated' by the process. She's suing the school for religious and sexual discrimination.

Zelda de Groen, a 24-year-old former teacher at a London, England Jewish nursery school, was told by her employer that moving in with her boyfriend would 'not be tolerated'. Gan Menachem Nursery School is an 'ultra-orthodox' Jewish private school.

De Groen was raised in an orthodox Jewish family and started working for the school in 2012. In 2016 she moved in with her boyfriend, and mentioned it a month later to the owner of her daycare, Mendy Freundlich, at a barbecue. Several parents of students in the school for children under eight overheard were also present at the barbecue and no one complained or said anything about De Groen’s living arrangements.

Weeks later, De Groen says she was called into her employer’s office, where she was grilled about her personal life by headteacher Miriam Lieberman and nursery manager Dina Toron. De Groen says she was caught off guard because no one at the party seemed to have a problem with her living situation, including the owner of the school, and she didn't think anything of it.

De Groen says the administrators launched 'a continuous personal attack on [her] life choices' and threatened her.

De Groen, who was 23 at the time, recalls her boss telling her, "23 is a big number. Don’t you want to get married? Why not? Do you have a problem with it?”

“I was told that having kids outside of marriage is wrong and will not be tolerated," she said. "Their comments, and the personal nature of the meeting, were humiliating.”

De Groen went back to the women after that and asked for an apology after the intense meeting. For about a month, the school did nothing. The school later sent her a letter telling her that she damaged the school's reputation and violated their ethics. She was ultimately fired.

"They told me it is not allowed to live with another person prior to marriage and that to do so is against what people in our workplace should do,” she said.

De Groen, who is now married to the man she lived with, is suing the school for £20,000, a little over $26,000 US dollars.

“‘I felt I was being punished in my professional life for a private issue that was entirely separate to my work for the nursery,” the former teacher said. She insists that her performance in the classroom had not at all been affected by her personal living situation with her boyfriend.

The school denies that they discriminated against their former employee, and they say their employees do not remember the sequence of events or any of the meetings in the same way that De Groen describes. They have otherwise refused to comment on the pending litigation.

Source: The Sun
Photo: MailOnline

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