Pregnancy Accommodations for Students and Employees
Case Western Reserve University, through the Office of Equity, supports pregnant students, faculty and staff so they can achieve academic and work success while pregnant, recovering from the birth of a child, caring for a newborn and breastfeeding an infant. Title IX (which prohibits gender discrimination against students), Title VII (which prohibits gender discrimination against employees) and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act prohibit schools and employers from penalizing students and employees because they need time off from work or school, or reasonable adjustments, for due to pregnancy, childbirth or caring for an infant.
A pregnant employee or student may also be entitled to reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), for serious health conditions arising from pregnancy or conditions that constitute a disability and arise from an exacerbation of an existing impairment due to pregnancy (e.g., pregnancy-related anemia, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, childbirth, nursing, post-partum depression etc.).
In this context, a “reasonable accommodation” is a change in the academic environment, workplace or way things are customarily done that enables an individual who is or was pregnant or is caring for a newborn to apply for a job, perform a job's essential functions, attend or be successful in class, or enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment or education.
Support for pregnant and parenting students and employees covers students, whether male or female or other, who are pregnant; dealing with infertility, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy, prenatal appointments, high risk pregnancy, common pregnancy complaints and miscarriage, and recovery from any of these events; care for an infant, when these events have potential to negatively impact academic or work success.
Available accommodations may include the following, among other solutions, depending on each person’s situation:
- Academic support
- Extended deadlines
- Flexible exam scheduling
- Excused absences
- Grades of incomplete
- Remote learning
- Temporary parking in a closer location
- Job modifications, including reassignment to others of non-essential duties
- Modification of workplace policies, including attendance policies
- Purchasing or modifying equipment and devices (chairs, desks, floor mats etc.)
- Modified work schedule
- Leave of absence (which may be unpaid)
- Temporary assignment to a light duty position
- Frequent breaks
Other accommodations designed to support student, faculty, and staff, but are not discussed here, may be available based on each individual’s circumstances. Other support from CWRU may include ensuring that nursing or pumping students, faculty and staff know where on campus the private nursing rooms are located (the locations are also available on the Flora Stone Mather Center for Women’s website).
This support is required by law. The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) within the United States Department of Education is responsible for enforcing Title IX, which states: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis or sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
How to Request a Pregnancy Accommodation
To request a pregnancy accommodation, students, faculty and staff must submit the Pregnancy Accommodation Form, along with the following additional documentation, to the Office for Equity:
- Medical documentation affirming your pregnancy status and detailed information supporting your requested accommodation.
- The HIPAA Release Form that will allow an Equity Specialist & Investigator to contact your healthcare provider for more specific information, if needed; and
- Job description or a description of your academic program, specifically identifying any program requirements which require accommodation.
The Pregnancy Accommodation Form can be completed in one of two ways:
- Complete the Pregnancy Accommodation Form Online HERE and attach supporting documents in the appropriate upload field; or
- Download the Pregnancy Accommodation Form (A Large Print) version is also available) and return the form and supporting documentation to the Office of Equity via one of the following methods:
- Drop off in our Office at The Nursing Research Building Suite 1180
- or Fax to 216.368.8805
Submission of this information will allow for efficient and timely processing of your request. Your confidential health information will be kept securely within the Office of Equity.
While Equity endeavors to handle each request as expeditiously as possible, processing of each application may take up fifteen (15) business days.
After receiving your complete documentation, the Office of Equity will reach out to meet with you either in person or remotely. During the intake meeting, the Equity Specialist & Investigator will also explain the accommodation process in more detail and address your questions or concerns. Identifying an appropriate accommodation may require that the Equity Specialist & Investigator contact your supervisor, academic program director, academic advisor, or other person familiar with your academic or job requirements.
Please note that accommodations are not effective until the interactive process, described above, is complete and you receive a letter via email stating that your request for an accommodation has been granted. Completing the above form and submitting the requisite information does not guarantee your specifically requested accommodation and does not immediately put an accommodation into place.