Title IX & Pregnant/Parenting Students & Employees

Title IX protects pregnant and parenting students, postdocs, and employees.

Title IX makes it illegal to discriminate because of sex, which includes discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, false pregnancy, miscarriage, abortion, or related conditions, including recovery. Title IX also ensures the right to take medically necessary leave and to be free of harassment, intimidation, or other discrimination because of pregnancy-related conditions.  Further, any rules concerning parental, family, or marital status may not apply differently based on sex. For example, universities cannot provide women with time to bond with or care for their children and not men.

Title IX protections apply in and out of the classroom.

The law against sex discrimination covers all aspects of an educational program.  This includes school-sponsored extracurricular activities and internships, athletics, financial aid and scholarships, career counseling, and lab and clinical work.

Title IX requires schools to excuse absences for pregnancy, childbirth, or related conditions.

Students must be allowed to take time off of school for pregnancy, childbirth, miscarriage, abortion and/or recovery for as long as their doctor says is medically necessary. That could mean a few absences for necessary medical appointments, or a longer leave of absence for a high-risk pregnancy or childbirth. This rule applies even if taking medically necessary leave would require an absence for longer than the school’s leave policy ordinarily allows.  Students cannot be penalized for taking leave, and must be able to return to school in the same status they held before taking leave.

The Title IX Coordinator will work closely with both the expecting student, and with their faculty and instructors to coordinate the necessary accommodations for the student to navigate their course work and academic requirements.  Schools are required to provide pregnant students, and students with related conditions such as childbirth, or false pregnancy, with at least the same special services as it provides to students with other temporary conditions.  For example, if a school provides homebound instruction or take-home assignments to students who miss school for illnesses, they must do the same for a student who misses school as a result of pregnancy or childbirth. Pregnant students and those with related medical conditions may also be eligible for disability protections and services under the ADA, depending upon their condition.

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