Most people know that pregnancy discrimination is illegal at work. But did you know that pregnancy discrimination is also illegal at school?
Pregnant students and new parents are protected by Title IX. Title IX provides that no school that receives federal funding (which is nearly all colleges) can discriminated based on sex, which is defined to include discrimination based on pregnancy, giving birth, recovery from childbirth, or related medical conditions.
Time to Pump
Many schools do not have formal policies regarding lactation breaks or accommodations. However, Title IX and Department of Education guidelines are clear that you should not be penalized for taking time away from class to pump or breastfeed your baby. This means that you cannot be penalized for attendance for any pregnancy-related absences, and you may be entitled to additional time for exams or assignments if you need to take breaks to pump.
A Safe & Private Space
Department of Education guidelines encourage schools to provide students with a private room to breastfeed or pump. Although the law is not clear on what, exactly, is required--unlike in the employment context--if the accommodations are not suitable and you cannot adequately pump or breastfeed, it likely violates Title IX. In addition, if other students are given private space or accommodations for non-pregnancy-related medical conditions (e.g., if they are given access to refrigerators, private sinks, or electrical outlets for other medical reasons, for example to conduct blood insulin testing), you must be given the same services for your breastfeeding needs.
Freedom from Harassment
Your school must protect you from harassment based on your status as a breastfeeding mother. If students are immature and harass you, it may constitute illegal sex discrimination. You should report it to your school's Title IX office or other administrators. If they fail to take action to protect you from harassment, they may be liable for any emotional harms you incur.
Contact Our Experienced Pregnancy Discrimination Attorneys
Our firm was founded by a working mother with personal experience fighting for the right to pump at work. It can be a demeaning and frustrating experience to fight for your rights and challenges breastfeeding can be devastating for new mothers. We are passionate about helping women who are denied the right to lactation accommodations.
If you have experienced discrimination due to your pregnancy or been denied lactation accommodations, do not hesitate to contact us today through our website or give us a call at (213) 214-3757 to see how we can help!