Advisory Notice Regarding Pregnant, Nursing and/or Parenting Employees & Students
*The content below was distributed via email to MPP staff on July 31, 2018.*
During the last six months, we’ve received an escalation in inquiries and complaints from employees and students who are pregnant or nursing indicating that supervisors/instructors are not adequately accommodating them as employees/students, or that they are unclear about their obligations as supervisors/instructors. As we head into the new academic year, I thought it might be a good idea to ensure that we get word out regarding the obligations we have to pregnant, parenting and/or nursing employees and students , especially since this is a potential gender equity issue. We highly encourage further distribution of this email to members of your leadership teams, faculty and staff.
In its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, San Francisco State recognizes that many nursing, pregnant and/or parenting employees and students exist outside of the binary construction of gender; please be aware that some of the language below is reflective of legal text, which we recognize may be limiting in terms of identity.
EMPLOYEES WHO ARE PREGNANT OR NURSING
We are obligated under both federal and state laws to provide reasonable locations and break time for new parents who need to breastfeed. California, as would be expected, is particularly progressive on this front. Further, we cannot discriminate for employment purposes against pregnant or nursing employees. Here are some online resources we can provide to supervisors:
- Map of State Protections for Employees who are Pregnant or Nursing - https://www.dol.gov/wb/maps/
- Chart of State Protections For Employees Who Are Pregnant or Nursing - https://www.dol.gov/wb/state_protection_summary_508_txt.htm
- Break Time for Mothers (federal guidance) - https://www.dol.gov/whd/nursingmothers/ and http://www.usbreastfeeding.org/workplace-law
- Pregnancy Discrimination (federal guidance) - https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/pregnancy.cfm
Here is a summary of the relevant CA state laws (Source: US Department of Labor)
Protection Against Pregnancy Discrimination
The California Fair Employment and Housing Act prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of sex, which is explicitly defined to include discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, or related medical conditions. This law applies to employers with five or more employees, except religious non-profit organizations.
Cal. Gov't Code §§ 12926, 12940.
Provisions for Pregnancy Accommodation
Women temporarily disabled by pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition are entitled to unpaid leave for as long as they remain disabled, up to four months. During that period, the employer must continue to provide the employee with the same level of health insurance coverage she received prior to taking leave. This law applies to employers with five or more employees, regardless of the worker's tenure or number of hours worked.
Cal. Gov't Code § 12945(a)(1)-(2).
Employers are also required to make reasonable accommodations for employees who have work-related limitations stemming from pregnancy, childbirth or a related condition. This may include temporary transfer to a less strenuous or less hazardous position, if an employee so requests upon the advice of her health care provider. If the employer has a policy or practice of transferring temporarily disabled employees to less strenuous positions for the duration of their disability, the employer must do the same for its pregnant employees.
Cal. Gov't Code § 12945(a)(3).
Workplace Breastfeeding Rights
Employers cannot discriminate against women for breastfeeding or breastfeeding-related medical conditions.
Cal. Gov't Code §§ 12926, 12940.
An employer must provide reasonable unpaid break time to a woman to express breast milk, unless doing so would seriously disrupt the employer's business. If possible, the break time must occur during the employee's ordinary break time. The employer must make a reasonable effort to provide the mother with a private space close to her work area, other than a bathroom, to express breast milk.
Cal. Labor Code §§ 1030-1033.
STUDENTS WHO ARE PREGNANT, PARENTING OR NURSING
Title IX prohibits sex and gender discrimination — including discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, and parental status — in the educational setting for all institutions that receive federal financial assistance. As such, Title IX protects students who are pregnant, parenting or nursing from discrimination. Here are some specific resources about our obligations in this regard:
- Pregnancy in College - https://www.affordablecollegesonline.org/college-resource-center/pregnancy-in-college/
- FAQ: Breastfeeding Students - https://nwlc.org/resources/faq-breastfeeding-students/
- Title IX Rights for Pregnant or Parenting Students - https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/dcl-know-rights-201306-title-ix.html
- Supporting the Academic Success of Pregnant/Parenting Students (applies to higher education also) - https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/pregnancy.pdf
Please note that information about available lactation rooms on campus can be found at http://titleix.sfsu.edu/content/gender-equity-initiatives. This page is updated as additional sites are added.
If you have questions about any information in this email, please contact Equity Programs & Compliance, Office of Human Resources (faculty/staff), or the Dean of Students Office (students). Thank you for taking the time to read and share this information.