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Title IX and Pregnancy

Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, which includes discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, recovery, and other similar and related conditions. Universities are mandated to allow students, staff, and faculty to take medical leave and ensure that they do not experience intimidation, harassment, or discrimination based on pregnancy related conditions. Additionally, universities must provide pregnant and parenting individuals at minimum the resources offered to individuals with temporary medical conditions. These opportunities and protections must be provided to both men and women. Find resources and links to SCU's policies below for more information.

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.

Pregnant students are able to continue to participate in classes and extracurricular activities if they wish. This means that students are still able to 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. Students may be required to submit a doctor’s note to continue with these involvements. Students must have access to—at minimum—the resources afforded to students experiencing other conditions. For example, if a school provides homebound instruction or take-home assignments to students who miss school for illnesses, they must do the same for a student who misses school as a result of pregnancy or childbirth.

Additionally, Santa Clara will provide accommodations for pregnant students, which may include a larger desk, elevator access, or frequent use of the restroom, when necessary because of a pregnancy. Professors may not refuse to allow you to submit work after a deadline you missed because of pregnancy or childbirth. If your professor’s grading is based in part on class participation or attendance and you missed class because of pregnancy or childbirth, you must be allowed to make up the participation or attendance credits you didn’t have the chance to earn.

If you need assistance with accessing resources or need to address harassment based on sex, including harassment because of pregnancy or related conditions, meet with the Office of Equal Opportunity and Title IX or counselor regarding what we can do to support you in continuing your education. We recommend that you 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 Office of Equal Opportunity and Title IX.

Santa Clara University 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, or 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.

For the official SCU policy, review the pregnancy resources on page 51 of the SCU student handbook.

Employees who are disabled due to pregnancy-related conditions are entitled to a leave of absence up to four months. Alternatively, employees may request to be transferred to a less strenuous position, if the transfer is allowed by a workplace needs assessment.

Submit a request for a leave of absence to Human Resources and the University’s leave administrator, Matrix, at least 30 days prior to the start of the disability, or the earliest reasonable time. Matrix can be contacted via their website,, by phone (877) 202-0055 or via the Matrix eServices Mobile App. Employees must provide an initial physician’s certification of disability indicating the expected duration of the disability. The certification must be updated to reflect changes in the employee’s condition.

Employees are also responsible for providing the required completed forms regarding their request for a family and medical leave to the Department of Human Resources, including medical certification (both prior to the leave and prior to reinstatement). Employees may also be required to provide periodic recertification and periodic reports during the leave, as applicable. Family and medical leave request forms are available at Benefit Forms & Information.

It is the employee’s responsibility to coordinate all leave time with the supervisor. It is the responsibility of the supervisor to administer the leave provisions detailed by SCU’s policy.

To be eligible for family and medical leave benefits, an employee must have worked for a total of at least twelve (12) months and have worked at least 1,250 hours in the previous 12 months prior to the start of the leave. Eligible employees may receive up to a total of 12 work weeks of leave during a rolling 12-month period.

Individuals may qualify for family leave related to pregnancy for the birth of a child and care of a new born child during the first year of life, and placement of a child for adoption or foster care and care for an adopted child or child in foster care during the first year. This list is not exhaustive of eligibility for family leave; refer to the policy for an exhaustive eligibility list.

Family and medical leave is generally unpaid. Employees may choose to have paid leave by utilizing accrued sick leave and vacation leave during their approved pregnancy leave. If an employee decides to receive paid leave, sick leave will be utilized first, supplemented by vacation leave. Once sick leave and vacation leave have been exhausted, paid leave will end. This is in coordination with either the State or Voluntary Disability Insurance, Worker’ Compensation, Social Security Disability, and the Santa Clara University long term disability plan, as applicable. The use of accrued vacation, if sick leave has been exhausted, is at the discretion of the employee.

Employees must inform their supervisor when they believe they qualify for family and medical leave. Supervisors must determine if the request qualifies for family and medical leave. Human Resources is responsible for interpreting and administering the policy.

For more information, please review the Pregnancy Disability page and the Family and Medical Leave page on the SCU Human Resources site.  

Without the support of the University athletics department, students face difficult decisions regarding pregnancy, such as concealing a pregnancy or dropping out of athletics or college as a whole. Although rates of pregnancy amongst student athletes are lower than the general student body, athletic departments must be prepared to support students.

Student athletes are eligible for the same protections that are offered to all students attending Santa Clara University. Universities are not permitted to terminate or reduce financial assistance based on pregnancy related conditions. The NCAA protects athletes from actions in response to temporary medical disabilities like car accidents or contagious diseases. At minimum, a pregnancy must be treated like any other temporary medical disability.


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