Washington Law Review


Regulations of the Cleveland, Ohio, Board of Education required that every pregnant teacher take a maternity leave at the end of her fourth month of pregnancy. The teacher was eligible for re-employment at the beginning of the school semester immediately after her child attained three months of age, providing she first submitted a doctor's certificate attesting to her health. The school board of Chesterfield County, Virginia, enacted a similar mandatory leave rule. However, Chesterfield County's re-employment rule did not condition the teacher's eligibility for re-employment on the age of her child; it provided that she was eligible for re-employment after submitting a medical certificate that she was fit to resume her duties. Pregnant teachers challenged the above regulations on equal protection grounds in the federal courts; the lower courts were split as to the validity of the regulations. On certiorari to the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in LaFleur v. Cleveland Board of Education, and the Fourth Circuit in Cohen v. Chesterfield County School Board, the Supreme Court held: The mandatory leave regulations of both boards and the Cleveland re-employment rule violate the due process clause of the fourteenth amendment. Cleveland Board of Education v. LaFleur, 414 U.S. 632 (1974).

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