by Olabisi L. Okubadejo and Daniel V. Johns
The National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) announced last month that Logan University in Missouri settled a pregnancy discrimination complaint that the NWLC filed with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) on behalf of a student. The complaint alleged that the University violated Title IX when it did not excuse the student’s absences related to pregnancy or childbirth and required the student to return to school immediately after an emergency Cesarean section to avoid being penalized for her absences.
The NWLC reports that the University will adopt a Title IX policy that excuses pregnancy-related absences for as long as medically necessary and conduct annual training for faculty members. The settlement also includes individual relief for the affected student.
At the end of June, OCR issued a Dear Colleague Letter and pamphlet addressing the obligations of educational institutions under Title IX related to pregnant and parenting students. Title IX specifically prohibits discrimination against students based on pregnancy, childbirth, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy, or recovery from any of these conditions. The Title IX regulation also prohibits educational institutions from applying rules related to students’ parental, family, or marital status that treat students differently based on sex.
Attorneys in Ballard Spahr’s Higher Education Group routinely advise educational institutions on compliance with Title IX and can provide specific counsel concerning attendance and related policies. For more information, contact Olabisi L. Okubadejo at 410.528.5532 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Daniel V. Johns at 215.864.8107 or email@example.com.
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