Monday, May 06, 2013

CUNY Settles Pregnancy Discrimination Complaint

The pregnancy discrimination complaint against Manhattan Community College (part of the CUNY system) has reportedly settled.  The complaint, as we blogged about in January, was filed with the Department of Education by the National Women's Law Center on behalf of student Stephanie Stewart. It alleged that the college violated Title IX when it refused to allow Stewart any accommodation to make up for classes or assignments missed due to her pregnancy, and then penalized her, by revoking her scholarship, when she withdrew from the class. While the failure to allow make-ups may or may not be discriminatory (depending on whether students are allowed makeup for other medical reasons), the revocation of her scholarship as a consequence of withdrawal appears to me to violate the Title IX regulation that requires schools to permit students to take leaves of absence for medically-necessary reasons related to pregnancy and childbirth with no change of status when they return. 

Under the terms of the settlement, Stewart's scholarship has been reinstated. She will also receive $3000 in damages.