Pregnancy/Child Care FAQ
Do MSU policies protect me against discrimination based on pregnancy or childbirth?
Yes. Mississippi State students and employees are protected from discrimination in employment, academics and other programs by university policies and by federal laws.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibit employment discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. Title IX prevents discrimination in academic and other university programs based on sex, which includes pregnancy and parental status. Additionally, MSU Operating Policy 3.03 specifically forbids discrimination in connection with any university program or activity based on sex, pregnancy, or other protected characteristics.
If pregnancy is affecting my classes or job, can the university assist?
In many cases, yes.
First, the university will not exclude a person from participation in any program or activity on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related issues. Where a person seeks leave of absence or other accommodations related to pregnancy or childbirth, the university will treat that request the same as any other request for accommodation of a temporary disability.
Additionally, university employees covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) are entitled to up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave per year for various qualifying events, which include but are not limited to childbirth and care of a newborn child, placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care, or serious medical conditions of the employee or an immediate family member.
Where a student requests a leave of absence from the university due to pregnancy, childbirth, or related issues, the university will grant leave for so long as the student’s physician deems it medically necessary. The university will allow students to return from leave in the same status as when they left. Whether this means direct continuation of a course or program already in progress, or permitting the student to re-take the course, will depend on specific circumstances.
Can I receive an accommodation because I need to care for young children?
University employees who qualify for FMLA coverage are entitled to up to twelve weeks of unpaid leave per year for various qualifying events, which include the care of a newborn child –or newly placed adopted or foster child—for up to one year after birth or placement. Additionally, covered employees may take FMLA leave to care for immediate family members, including but not limited to minor children, who have serious health conditions.
Generally, university policies mandating leave and other accommodations for students are limited to pregnancy, childbirth, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy, or recovery, and do not extend to subsequent childcare issues. In some cases, individual university departments or units may elect to take steps on a voluntary basis to accommodate students experiencing short-term childcare related issues, but this is not required by policy.
How and when should a pregnancy accommodation request be submitted?
When possible, it is best to seek pregnancy accommodations as soon as you and your physician foresee likely issues, even if they do not yet impose major limitations. While an accommodation generally should not be utilized until it is actually necessary, advance notice of likely issues can allow the university to pre-approve an accommodation and inform the necessary faculty or staff to ensure a smoother transition if and when they arise.
We understand that it may be impossible to predict complications and limitations stemming from pregnancy and will endeavor to respond to requests on short notice when feasible. But where advance notice can be provided, it is recommended.