Frequently Asked Questions for Employees: Pregnancy and Lactation

This page provides some frequently asked questions and answers regarding pregnancy and lactation.
Information about pregnancy rights and resources and lactation rights and resources is also available. 

1. What kinds of medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth are protected under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act?
Examples of medical conditions related to pregnancy that are protected are: back pain, lactation, and gestational diabetes.

2.  Can an employer take adverse action based on concern about a pregnant woman's health and safety?
No, these types of restrictions are rarely justified.  Employers can require that a pregnant woman complete all her employment duties, but cannot take any negative employment related actions.

3.  Are pregnant women protected from harassment?
Yes, offensive and unwanted conduct directed at a woman based on pregnancy, childbirth or other related medical conditions can consitute harassment depending on frequency and severity.  Examples include jokes, insults and threats.

4.  Is an employer required to provide light duty for a pregnant woman if she needs it?
Yes, subject to the same limitations that apply to other employees seeking light duty.  Light duty is provided pursuant to the Return to Work Policy.  

5.  What leave do I get?  What protections does the Family and Medical Leave Act provide for pregnant employees and their families?
Your leave elibility depends on what category of employee you are -- faculty, operational, classified, professional, executive, or hourly.  The Office of Human Resources' Benefits website provides information about the different leave programs.  FMLA requires employers with 50 or more employees to provide covered employees with up to 12 weeks of leave to care for a newborn child, a newly adopted child, the employee's own medical condition, and a seriously ill spouse or child.  To find out about your specific eligibility, contact the Office of Human Resources. 

6.  What must an employer provide to workers who need to express breast milk in the workplace?
Employers are required to provide a reasonable amount of break time and a space to express mile as frequenlty as needed by the nursing mother for up to one year following the birth of the child.  The frequency of breaks and the duration of each break will likely vary.  The space provided cannot be a bathroom and it must be shielded from vire and free from instrusion by coworkers or the public. 

7.  Do I need to talk with my supervisor if I want to breastfeed?
Yes, an employee who wants to breastfeed or express milk should let her supervisor know.  Supervisors and employees will work together to establish reasonable times each day that do not unduly disrupt the operations of the department or office. 

8.  Am I allowed to bring my baby to and from work to breast feed?
Yes, nursing mothers may choose to have their babies brough to and from the work place to be breastfed during authorized lactation breaks.  Nursing mothers who do not have private offices, or who work in areas where infants are not permitted, may use lactation facilities on campus for breastfeeding or expressing milk.  The Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity can work with employees and supervsiors to find other space as needed. 

9.  I need more information about my rights and resources.  Where can I go?
Information about your rights and resources can be found by visiting the rights and resources page. If you need more information contact the Office of Human Resources or the Office of Compliance & Equity