OCR Announces Resolution of Pregnancy Discrimination Investigation

This month, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced the resolution of a student’s complaint of pregnancy discrimination at Salt Lake Community College. After an independent investigation, the OCR found that the College “encouraged a pregnant student to drop a course because she was pregnant and did not engage in an interactive process” to provide “necessary academic services” throughout her pregnancy. The OCR also determined that the College did not “excuse her pregnancy-related absences” or allow her to submit work after those absences.

The OCR also determined that the College violated Title IX by failing to “respond promptly and equitably” to the student’s complaint of pregnancy discrimination, “to determine appropriate special services” or “academic adjustments” with the student, and to excuse her absences “related to pregnancy” and provide opportunities to make up missed work. The College also violated Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act by “failing to… consider whether her pregnancy caused a temporary disability requiring academic adjustments.”

To ensure compliance with Title IX and Section 504, Salt Lake Community College has agreed to implement a voluntary resolution agreement. In the agreement, the College has committed to revising its notice and grievance procedures, publishing information regarding pregnancy discrimination its website, and training the College’s Title IX coordinator on Title IX/Section 504 protections for pregnant students.

>The Department of Education this month also signaled an intention through its Notice of Proposed Rule Making of new Title IX regulations to provide additional protections for pregnant and parenting students.

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