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Pregnancy in the Workplace

Policy Statement

Unlawful discrimination has no place at WNE. It violates the University’s core values, including its commitment to equal opportunity and inclusion, and will not be tolerated. Discrimination and harassment based on pregnancy or pregnancy-related conditions, including but not limited to childbirth, termination of pregnancy, or lactation, are prohibited by University policy and prohibited by Title IX.

Reason for Policy

To establish uniform guidelines to promote a work and educational environment at WNE free from discrimination and harassment of pregnant individuals, those with pregnancy-related conditions including but not limited to childbirth, termination of pregnancy, and/or lactation.

Who Is Governed by this Policy

Faculty, Staff, and Students


The University may not refuse to hire a pregnant applicant or an applicant with a pregnancy-related condition because of the pregnancy or pregnancy-related condition (provided the applicant can perform the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodation), nor will the University deny any employment opportunity or take adverse action against an employee because of the employee’s pregnancy, pregnancy-related condition, or request for reasonable accommodation. 

The University will reasonably accommodate employees and prospective employees for pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions, absent undue hardship for the University. It is contrary to University policy to deny an employment opportunity or take adverse action against an individual because of pregnancy or a condition related to pregnancy, provided that the individual is capable of performing the essential functions of their position, with or without reasonable accommodation. Adverse action against employees in retaliation against those who in good faith request or use reasonable accommodations is likewise prohibited.

While pregnancy and pregnancy-related conditions may not be considered a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), employees and prospective employees may be eligible for reasonable accommodations or services for pregnancy-related complications (such as serious health conditions) or other conditions that constitute a disability, including complications that arise postpartum or exacerbations of an existing impairment due to pregnancy.

The University prohibits all forms of discrimination and retaliation against any individual for requesting or receiving an accommodation pursuant to this policy. 


Employees or prospective employees seeking a reasonable accommodation under this policy should contact the Associate Vice President of Human Resources, who serves as the University’s EEO Officer and ADA 504 Coordinator. 

Upon receipt of a request, the EEO Officer or their designee will meet with the employee or prospective employee to engage in an interactive process to determine an effective, reasonable accommodation to enable the employee or prospective employee to perform the essential functions of the employee’s job or the position to which the prospective employee has applied. Every effort will be made to expeditiously discuss and evaluate reasonable accommodation requests and communicate the decision regarding the request to the employee or prospective employee. The EEO Officer will not require pregnant employees or prospective employees to accept a particular accommodation, including a leave of absence, if another reasonable accommodation would enable the employee or prospective employee to perform the essential job functions without undue hardship. The EEO Officer may require documentation of the need for accommodation, but no documentation will be required for: (i) more frequent restroom, food, or water breaks; (ii) seating; (iii) limits on lifting no more than 20 lbs.; and (iv) private, non-bathroom space for expressing breast milk. 

Anyone who believes they have been discriminated or retaliated against in violation of this policy should report the matter immediately to the University’s EEO Officer or the Title IX Coordinator.   

Inquiries concerning the application of nondiscrimination policies may also be referred to:

Regional Director Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Education
8th Floor
5 Post Office Square
Boston, MA 02109-3921

Telephone: 617-289-0111
Facsimile: 617-289-0150

Complaints can be filed Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD)
436 Dwight Street, Room 222
Springfield, MA 01103

Telephone: 413-739-2145
Facsimile: 413-784-1056


Condition Related to Pregnancy: Can be before, during, or after pregnancy. Examples include, but are not limited to, morning sickness and lactation.

Reasonable Accommodation: The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, require the University to provide appropriate and reasonable employment accommodations to employees with disabilities unless doing so would create an undue hardship, compromise the health and safety of members of the University community, or fundamentally alter the nature of the University’s employment or academic mission. The University engages in an interactive process with the employee to determine disability status and accommodation needs.

Undue Hardship: An action requiring significant difficulty, expense, and disruption (financial and/or administrative burden) or an action that would fundamentally alter policy and procedures, the nature of the job function, and/or the fundamental nature of the academic program at the University.

Document History

Policy Origination Date: July 27, 2023

Who Approved This Policy

Associate Vice President of Human Resources 


Associate Director of Human Resources
Rivers Memorial