Parenting Rights & Resources

The Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination coordinates accommodations at Sonoma State for pregnant, parenting, and nursing (lactating) students and nursing accommodations for employees. Accommodations related to pregnancy for employees will continue to be coordinated through the ADA Program. We would like to remind the campus of the employer obligations to pregnant, parenting and/or nursing employees and students, as denial of these rights could be a potential gender equity issue.  We highly encourage further distribution of this email to members of your leadership teams, faculty and staff.

In its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, Sonoma State University recognizes that many nursing, pregnant and/or parenting employees and students exist outside of the binary construction of gender; please be aware that some of the language below is reflective of legal text, which we recognize may be limiting in terms of identity.  Thanks and credit go to the Title IX Office at San Francisco State University for sharing much of the following information with us:

Students who are Pregnant, Parenting or Nursing

Title IX is a federal law that prohibits sex and gender discrimination — including discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, and parental status — in the educational setting for all institutions that receive federal financial assistance.  As such, Title IX protects people who are pregnant, parenting or nursing from discrimination.  Here are some specific resources about our obligations in this regard:

Requesting Accommodations for Pregnant, Parenting, or Nursing Students

To request accommodations or for information on reserving a lactation room, please fill out the SSU Nursing Mothers Accommodation Request Form.

Questions on accommodations for pregnant, parenting, or nursing students can be directed to:

Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination (OPHD)
ophd@sonoma.edu

Sarah Clegg, Title IX Officer and Senior Director 
Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination
cleggs@sonoma.edu
(707) 664-2480

Employees who are Pregnant or Nursing

Federal and state law prohibit Sonoma State University from discriminating against pregnant or nursing employees.  Sonoma State is required to provide reasonable locations and break time for new parents who breastfeed.  Further, we cannot discriminate for employment purposes against pregnant or nursing employees.  Here are some online resources for supervisors:

Summary of additional relevant CA state laws (Source: US Department of Labor):

The California Fair Employment and Housing Act prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of sex, which is explicitly defined to include discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, or related medical conditions. This law applies to employers with five or more employees, except religious non-profit organizations. Cal. Gov't Code §§ 12926, 12940.

Women temporarily disabled by pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition are entitled to unpaid leave for as long as they remain disabled, up to four months. During that period, the employer must continue to provide the employee with the same level of health insurance coverage she received prior to taking leave. This law applies to employers with five or more employees, regardless of the worker's tenure or number of hours worked. Cal. Gov't Code § 12945(a)(1)-(2).

Employers are also required to make reasonable accommodations for employees who have work-related limitations stemming from pregnancy, childbirth or a related condition. This may include temporary transfer to a less strenuous or less hazardous position, if an employee so requests upon the advice of her health care provider. If the employer has a policy or practice of transferring temporarily disabled employees to less strenuous positions for the duration of their disability, the employer must do the same for its pregnant employees. Cal. Gov't Code § 12945(a)(3).

Employers cannot discriminate against women for breastfeeding or breastfeeding-related medical conditions. Cal. Gov't Code §§ 12926, 12940.

An employer must provide reasonable unpaid break time to a woman to express breast milk, unless doing so would seriously disrupt the employer's business. If possible, the break time must occur during the employee's ordinary break time. The employer must make a reasonable effort to provide the mother with a private space close to her work area, other than a bathroom, to express breast milk. Cal. Labor Code §§ 1030-1033.

Requesting Accommodations for Pregnant, Parenting, or Nursing Employees

To request pregnancy related accommodations for employees and/or explore parental leave, please contact:

Faculty Contact 

Sally Russo
Director of Faculty Personnel – Leave of Absence Requests
sacchett@sonoma.edu
(707) 664-3170

Employee Contact 

Celeste McLaughlin – Accommodations Requests
Workers' Compensation, ADA, and Leave Specialist
celeste.mclaughlin@sonoma.edu


To request accommodations or for information on reserving a lactation room, please fill out the SSU Nursing Mothers Accommodation Request Form.