On June 14, 2022, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights announced they reached a resolution agreement with Salt Lake Community College regarding a student’s complaint of pregnancy discrimination. At the crux of OCR’s finding was that the College violated Title IX when it did not: (1) respond promptly and equitably to a student’s complaint of pregnancy discrimination; (2) engage in an interactive process with the student to determine the appropriate special services and/or academic adjustments to provide in light of her pregnancy; and (3) excuse her absences related to pregnancy, provide her the opportunity to make up work missed due to pregnancy-related absences, or provide her with alternatives to making up missed work at a later date. Additionally, OCR found the College violated Section 504 for not engaging in an interactive process with the student and not considering whether her pregnancy caused a temporary disability requiring academic adjustments.
Campuses reading this resolution are reminded that employees, including faculty, must be aware of Title IX and Section 504 protections and processes for pregnant students, including academic adjustments and services available. Existing Title IX and harassment/discrimination policies should be clear that pregnancy and parenting is covered by those policies, and how a complaint of pregnancy discrimination can be filed. Also consider that pregnancy-related support under Title IX extends to pregnancy, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy, or recovery from related conditions, and parental status, to both birthing and non-birthing parents.