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Four Law Students Claim Pregnancy Discrimination

January 5th, 2020 Victoria Breese

Being a law student is a difficult undertaking for anyone, let alone someone who is pregnant. Unfortunately, four law students are claiming that their university is making this situation even more difficult by committing pregnancy discrimination. They claim that their law school, the Belmont University College of Law, refused to make reasonable accommodations to their attendance policy for pregnant students. Generally, eligible employers must make reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees, similar to those granted for an employee with a temporary disability.  

How Did the Law School Discriminate?

One student, Juliana Lamar, said that after she had an emergency C-section, she felt pressure to return to class before she could even pick up her textbooks and drive herself to campus. Another law student, Cecilia Young, was refused excused absences when she was diagnosed with a life-threatening condition and hospitalized after giving birth. These students argue that the law school should have provided reasonable accommodations to pregnant students like how they would with a student who has a serious illness. The law school argues that it needed to strictly maintain its attendance policy, which requires that students cannot miss more than 15% of classes in order to receive credit for a certain course. 

The Law School Responds

Belmont University officials argue that what the women were actually requesting were exceptions to the attendance policy and not medical accommodations. The University argues that, instead of modifying the policy altogether, they will work with individual pregnant students on a case by case basis. However, after the increased complaints from current and former pregnant law students about pregnancy discrimination, Belmont University has agreed to support an independent investigation by the University’s Title IX office. The school released an additional statement saying, “We commit to all current and future pregnant students that we will assist them in navigating through law study while also taking into careful consideration their personal health circumstances.”

How to Spot Pregnancy Discrimination in the Workplace

In addition to academic environments, pregnancy discrimination all too often occurs in the workplace. This type of discrimination occurs when a woman is treated unfavorably because of pregnancy, childbirth, or a medical condition related to either pregnancy or childbirth. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act forbids discrimination based on pregnancy regarding any aspect of employment, including but not limited to pay, hiring, job responsibilities, and promotions. Additionally, pregnancy discrimination can occur when an employee is denied temporary reasonable accommodations that she needs during pregnancy or recovery from childbirth. If you have experienced pregnancy discrimination, you should speak to an experienced employment attorney.


Seek Legal Assistance Today

If you have experienced pregnancy discrimination in the workplace, seek legal assistance today. The Working Solutions Law Firm, located in New York City, can assist you. Contact us today at (646) 430-7930 to schedule a free case evaluation and receive experienced legal counsel.