LIFE AT WSU

  • Title IX and Pregnant & Parenting Students and Employees

    Title IX protects pregnant and parenting students and employees. The following information outlines policies and resources available to those in that situation.

  • Information for Students

    Policy

    Title IX protects pregnant and parenting students from discrimination at school.Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (“Title IX”), 20 U.S.C. §1681 et seq., is a Federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex—including pregnancy and parental status—in educational programs and activities. All public and private schools, school districts, colleges, and universities receiving any Federal funds (“schools”) must comply with Title IX.

    Things to Know About your Rights

    Classes and School Activities – Worcester State WILL…

    • Allow you to continue participating in classes and extracurricular activities even though you are pregnant. This means that you can still participate in advanced placement and honors classes, school clubs, sports, honor societies, student leadership opportunities, and other activities, like after-school programs operated at the school.
    • Allow you to choose whether you want to participate in special instructional programs or classes for pregnant students. You can participate if you want to, but your school cannot pressure you to do so. The alternative program must provide the same types of academic, extracurricular and enrichment opportunities as your school’s regular program.
    • Allow you to participate in classes and extracurricular activities even though you are pregnant and not require you to submit a doctor’s note unless your school requires a doctor’s note from all students who have a physical or emotional condition requiring treatment by a doctor. Your school also must not require a doctor’s note from you after you have been hospitalized for childbirth unless it requires a doctor’s note from all students who have been hospitalized for other conditions.
    • Provide you with reasonable adjustments, like a larger desk, elevator access, or allowing you to make frequent trips to the restroom, when necessary because of your pregnancy.

    Guidelines for Pregnant Women Working in Laboratories

    It is the responsibility of the student to inform the instructor in the laboratory courses as soon as she knows she is pregnant. If the student does not properly inform the instructor of the pregnancy or is unaware of her pregnancy, the instructor cannot properly advise or accommodate that student.

    Excused Absences and Medical Leave – Worcester State WILL…

    • Excuse absences due to pregnancy or childbirth for as long as your doctor says it is necessary.
    • Allow you to return to the same academic and extracurricular status as before your medical leave began, which should include giving you the opportunity to make up any work missed while you were out.
    • Ensure that teachers understand the Title IX requirements related to excused absences/medical leave. Your teacher may not refuse to allow you to submit work after a deadline you missed because of pregnancy or childbirth. If your teacher’s grading is based in part on class participation or attendance and you missed class because of pregnancy or childbirth, you should be allowed to make up the participation or attendance credits you didn’t have the chance to earn.
    • Provide pregnant students with the same special services it provides to students with temporary medical conditions. This includes homebound instruction/at-home tutoring/independent study.

    Harassment – Worcester State WILL…

    • Protect you from harassment based on sex, including harassment because of pregnancy or related conditions. Comments that could constitute prohibited harassment include making sexual comments or jokes about your pregnancy, calling you sexually charged names, spreading rumors about your sexual activity, and making sexual propositions or gestures, if the comments are sufficiently serious that it interferes with your ability to benefit from or participate in your school’s program.

    Policies and Procedures – Worcester State WILL…

    • Have and distribute a policy against sex discrimination. It is recommended that the policy make clear that prohibited sex discrimination covers discrimination against pregnant and parenting students.
    • Adopt and publish grievance procedures for students to file complaints of sex discrimination, including discrimination related to pregnancy or parental status.
    • Identify at least one employee in the school or school district to carry out its responsibilities under Title IX (sometimes called a “Title IX Coordinator”) and notify all students and employees of the name, title, and contact information of its Title IX Coordinator. These responsibilities include overseeing complaints of discrimination against pregnant and parenting students.

    Helpful Tips for Pregnant and Parenting Students

    • Ask your school for help—meet with the Title IX Coordinator (Jennifer Quinn, jquinn@worcester.edu, 508-929-8243) or counselor regarding what your school can do to support you in continuing your education.
    • Keep notes about your pregnancy-related absences, any instances of harassment and your interactions with school officials about your pregnancy, and immediately report problems to the Title IX Coordinator (Jennifer Quinn, jquinn@worcester.edu, 508-929-8243), counselor, or other staff.
    • If you feel Worcester State is discriminating against you because you are pregnant or parenting you may file a complaint. Refer to the "Reporting Options" section below.
    Information for Employees

    Employee Policy

    The Universities are committed to providing equal access to employment for all current and prospective employees. The Universities recognize that employees and job applicants may not be treated less favorably because of pregnancy or pregnancy-related conditions and that employees and job applicants may need reasonable accommodations for pregnancy or pregnancy-related conditions to allow them to have effective opportunities to participate in or benefit from employment. In accordance with the requirements of state law, and through the interactive process, the Universities will provide necessary, reasonable accommodations that will allow an employee to perform the essential functions of the job while pregnant or experiencing pregnancy-related conditions that exist during and/or after pregnancy (e.g., morning sickness, lactation, or the need to express milk), unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the University. The Universities recognize that they cannot make an employee accept a particular accommodation if another reasonable accommodation would allow the employee to perform the essential functions of the job, or require an employee to take a leave if another reasonable accommodation may be provided without an undue hardship.

    Reasonable accommodations may include, but are not limited to, the following:

    • more frequent or longer paid or unpaid breaks;
    • time off to attend to a pregnancy complication or recover from childbirth with or without pay;
    • acquisition or modification of equipment or seating;
    • temporary transfer to a less strenuous or hazardous position;
    • job restructuring;
    • light duty;
    • private non-bathroom space for expressing breast milk;
    • assistance with manual labor; and/or
    • modified work schedule.

    Upon the request from the employee or prospective employee, the Universities will engage in a timely, good faith and interactive process to determine an effective, reasonable accommodation to enable the employee to perform the essential functions of the position. The Universities recognize that they may require documentation regarding the need for an accommodation from a healthcare professional that explains what accommodation(s) the employee needs, but that they cannot require documentation for the following accommodations:

    1. more frequent restroom, food, or water breaks
    2. seating
    3. limits on lifting more than 20 pounds
    4. private, non-bathroom space for expressing breast milk.

    Process By Which To Request Accommodations

    University employees who seek an accommodation for pregnancy or a pregnancy-related condition may contact the Executive Director, Chief Human Resources Officer, Sue Moore (smoore5@worcester.edu, 508-929-8117), for more information.

    Complaint Investigation and Resolution Procedure

    Employees or job applicants who believe that they have been a victim of discrimination as a result of pregnancy or a pregnancy-related condition, or who allege that the University has failed to provide reasonable accommodations, may initiate a claim as outlined in the Universities’ Complaint Investigation and Resolution procedures under the Equal Opportunity, Diversity & AA Plan. Further advice or information may be obtained by contacting the Director of Diversity, Inclusion, Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity, Maria Isabel Gariepy, at 508-929-8784. The discrimination complaint form can be found by visiting the Diversity Office page under Discrimination & Bias Incident Reporting.

    Reporting Options

    To report to Worcester State’s Title IX Coordinator; contact Jennifer Quinn, jquinn@worcester.edu, 508-929-8243.

    To report to the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR), even if you have not filed a complaint with your school. If you file with OCR, make sure you do so within 180 days of when the discrimination took place.

    In court, even if you have not filed a complaint with Worcester State or with OCR, contact OCR if you have any questions - they are help make sure all students, including pregnant and parenting students, have equal educational opportunities.

    If you want to learn more about your rights, or if you believe that a school district, college, or university is violating Federal law, you may contact the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, at 800-421-3481 or ocr@ed.gov. If you wish to fill out a complaint form online, you may do so at:

    Link Icon OCR: Office for Civil Rights Complaint Forms

    Lactation Room

    The lactation room is a private space designated to accommodate an employee or student who is a nursing mother. Worcester State’s lactation room is located on the third floor of the student center, in the Student Affairs suite.

    Pregnancy & Parenting Student Athletes

    Plese refer to the following resources for student athletes who are pregnant or parenting:

    PDF icon NCAA: Pregnant & Parenting Student Athletes
    Link Icon SCI: Pregnant Student-Athlete Participation Under Title IX
    Link Icon Title IX and Athletics

    Process By Which To Request Accommodations

    Accommodations for Students

    Students who seek an accommodation for pregnancy or a pregnancy-related condition may contact the Student Accessibility Services office.

    Accommodations for Employees

    Employees who seek an accommodation for pregnancy or a pregnancy-related condition may contact Human Resources.

  • CONTACT US

    Jennifer Quinn M.Ed., CHES, CTTS
    Director of Title IX
    Drug and Alcohol Education Prevention
    Student Center
    Office SC338
    508-929-8243
    jquinn@worcester.edu
    wsu_titleix@worcester.edu  

    On-Campus Emergencies
    508-929-8911

    Off-Campus Emergencies
    Worcester Police Department
    911