Title IX’s Protections Against Pregnancy Discrimination Clarified

The U.S. Department of Education recently published a resource on “Discrimination Based on Pregnancy and Related Conditions,” providing a summary of Title IX’s protections related to pregnancy. While the resource does not change any existing rules, universities, colleges, and school districts may find it helpful as they review their Title IX policies and related practices.

Key takeaways from the resource include:

  • Pregnancy discrimination is not limited to pregnancy itself. Instead, it includes discrimination based on childbirth, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy, and recovery from pregnancy.
  • Schools may not exclude students from educational programs or activities – including extracurriculars – based on these factors.
  • Discrimination based on pregnancy, etc., is prohibited against both students and employees.
  • Pregnancy, childbirth, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy, and recovery should be treated the same as any other temporary disability with respect to a school’s benefits, services, and policies, for students and employees.
  • If a school doesn’t have a leave policy covering temporary disabilities, it must provide leave to a student for pregnancy, etc., for as long as the student’s physician deems medically necessary. After that leave, the student must be reinstated to the status the student held when the leave began.
  • If an employee has insufficient leave or accrued employment time to qualify for leave under a school’s policy, the school must allow an unpaid leave of absence for a reasonable period of time due to pregnancy, etc., and must reinstate the employee to their pre-leave status or a comparable position upon the employee’s return, without reduction in pay.
  • Schools must ensure their teachers are not discriminating against students based on pregnancy, etc., such as by refusing to allow a student to submit work late after a pregnancy-related absence.

McCarty Law LLP is here to help educational institutions with their Title IX related policies, practices, and investigations. For more information, contact Attorney Lora L. Zimmer or your regular McCarty Law attorney.

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Lora L. Zimmer

Health Law and Title IX Attorney at McCarty Law LLP
Lora focuses her practice in corporate and business transactions, with a particular focus on the business and regulatory needs of health care clients. In addition, Lora is a trained Title IX investigator, providing prompt, thorough investigations and objective reporting in response to alleged violations of schools’ sexual misconduct policies.
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