SB 138 prohibits public or private institutions of higher education from requiring a student to take a leave of absence, withdraw from a program, or otherwise limit her studies solely due to pregnancy. The measure also requires such institutions to reasonably accommodate pregnant students so they may complete their courses of study and research. Reasonable accommodations include providing allowances for the student’s health and safety, providing make up tests or assignments, and allowing for pregnant students to take a leave of absence. Institutions of higher education must maintain written policies for enrolled students on pregnancy discrimination and procedures for addressing pregnancy discrimination.
Students opting for a leave of absence due to a pregnancy or recent birth must be provided a leave of absence consistent with the policies of the institution or 12 months leave, whichever is longer, to prepare for and take preliminary and qualifying examinations. Additionally, such students must be granted a 12-month extension to complete their degree and must be permitted to maintain residency in student housing during her pregnancy and throughout their leave of absence. The Office of Civil Rights Enforcement within the Attorney General’s office is directed by the measure to investigate complaints from students alleging pregnancy discrimination.
(Summary prepared by the Legislature)