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What laws protect postdocs?

All postdocs, regardless of classification, are protected from pregnancy discrimination by law.

Regardless of whether you are a trainee or an employee, you are protected from pregnancy discrimination and you have rights to job-protected maternity leave and accommodations. But, although all postdocs are guaranteed some leave for pregnancy, childbirth, or related conditions, the amount of time will vary based on your classification as either a trainee or an employee.

Trainees or other non-employees

Some postdoctoral fellows are not considered employees.  For the purposes of Title IX, trainee postdocs can be characterized as a “student” because under Title IX, students aren’t merely those who are seeking a degree, but anyone who is getting their education (even hands-on education) as a part of a covered program.


Other postdocs are considered employees.  You may be an employee if you sign an employment contract, receive a salary (rather than a stipend), are represented by a union, and/or are connected with human resources.  If in doubt of whether you are an employee, contact your institution’s human resources department.

Once you determine which category you fall under, follow the links to the resources that apply to you:

          For students (including post-docs classified as non-employees)

          For employees

New Title IX Regulations are HERE! To learn more and be the first to receive our updated materials, visit our Title IX Updates page.