Pregnancy Discrimination and Accommodation

Pregnancy Discrimination and Accommodation

The Federal Department of Education’s (DOE) regulations implementing Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, a college or university “shall not discriminate against any student, or exclude any student from its education program or activity, including any class or extracurricular activity, on the basis of such student’s pregnancy, childbirth, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy or recovery therefrom.”   Sex discrimination is also unlawful pursuant to the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VII (codified as 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq.). Disability discrimination is also unlawful pursuant to the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, Title I (codified as 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq.).  This directive has been highlighted in an Early Complaint Resolution Agreement between the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and the City University of New York (below), a Dear Colleague Letter from OCR, and a 30 page “pamphlet” from DOE entitled “Supporting the Academic Success of Pregnant and Parenting Students.”

In New York State, sex discrimination, disability discrimination, and familial status discrimination are unlawful pursuant to the New York Human Rights Law § 296.1 (N.Y. Executive Law, Article 15).The Human Rights Law applies generally to employers with four or more employees.  Pregnancy discrimination is a form of sex discrimination. It can also be a form of familial status discrimination. Treating pregnancy-related conditions differently from other medical conditions is also disability discrimination. Furthermore, the Human Rights Law was amended by the Laws of 2015, chapter 369, to make explicit that which has long been the interpretation of the New York State Division of Human Rights: that employers are required to provide reasonable accommodation of pregnancy-related conditions.


Laws and Regulations

Federal Laws

Federal Regulations

New York State Laws

New York State Regulations

SUNY Resources and Guidance 

References to Best Practices and Other Supplemental Material

New York State Guidance

Federal Guidance

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