CHICAGO (CBS) — The Justice Department says pregnant teachers at a Northwest Side elementary school were fired in violation of the Civil Rights act, which explicitly bans employers from discriminating against female employees due to pregnancy and childbirth.

The department filed a lawsuit against the Chicago Board of Education which alleges Scammon Elementary School Principal Mary Weaver gave satisfactory marks to some teachers but fired them anyway after they got pregnant.

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The suit says Weaver responded to a teacher’s announcement of her pregnancy by saying, “I can’t believe you are doing this to me, you are going to be out right before testing,” and asking the teacher who was nursing, “That isn’t over yet? When will you be done with that?”

“No woman should have to make a choice between her job and having a family,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta for the Civil Rights Division in a press release. “Federal law requires employers to maintain a workplace free of discrimination on the basis of sex.”

From 2009-2012, the lawsuit says Weaver targeted for termination all eight Scammon teachers who were pregnant.

Chicago Teachers Union acting president Jesse Sharkey says there is a long track record of complains against Weaver.

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“Not only do they leave this principal in place, but they actually reward this principal,” he said. “This is a principal who received an honor of being an outstanding principal only a year ago.”

CPS spokesman Bill McCaffrey released a statement saying, “Chicago Public Schools is strongly committed to creating a workplace that values and respects all employees and will not tolerate the kind of discrimination or retaliation that is alleged to have taken place at Scammon Elementary school. Chicago Public Schools intends to defend against the suit and stands behind its commitment to its Comprehensive Non-Discrimination Policy and to the fair treatment of pregnant employees.”

Chicago mayoral candidate Alderman Robert Fioretti released a statement saying, “A millionaire venture capitalist sits on our school board, appointed by our millionaire mayor, and makes decisions that enrich the companies in which she invests. Meanwhile, women who make a working salary to teach our children are being forced to choose between a career and motherhood.

This is an embarrassment and is one more example of why a mayoral appointed school board has failed this city. We should have absolutely no tolerance for sexist practices in any workplace or our school system. These teachers deserve justice now.”

The suit asks that the board develop policies to prevent discrimination and seeks damages for the pregnant teachers.

Since those poor performance ratings, the CTU says they’ve had difficulty finding new teaching jobs.

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Principal Weaver could not be reached for comment.