Brief Fact Summary. Appellant, a non-tenured teacher, brought suit claiming that the failure of the school to recommend the renewal of her teaching contract was based upon her impending divorce in violation of her constitutional rights of privacy and liberty.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. It is a violation of appellant’s constitutional right to privacy and liberty to deny public employment on the basis of her impending divorce.
Issue. Could the school constitutionally deny public employment without sufficient justification?
Held. No. A person’s involvement in activity shielded by the constitutionally protected rights of privacy and liberty constitutes an impermissible reason for denying employment.
The fundamental right violated her was appellant’s right to privacy regarding her marital status. The district court incorrectly concluded that the right to privacy is only recognized when certain fundamental rights such as liberty or property rights are also affected.
The district court’s grant of a directed verdict was incorrect, because statements made by appellant’s supervisors adequate to support the theory that her divorce was the motivating factor in the superintendent’s refusal to recommend her for rehire. This testimony was sufficient to create an issue of fact for the jury.
Discussion. The school violated appellant’s constitutional rights to liberty and privacy if the evidence sufficiently proved that her employment was not renewed due to her impending divorce.