Title IX was enacted to protect individuals from sexual discrimination in federally funded schools and educational programs. But what would be a violation of Title IX in schools? The experienced lawyers at Warner Law Offices, PLLC, know and can help you seek the compensation you deserve.
Title IX is a federal law enacted in 1972 to protect individuals from sexual discrimination in educational settings. Victims are encouraged to report violations. But what would be a violation of Title IX in schools?
Title IX prohibits discrimination based on sex in federally funded schools and education programs. Such discrimination includes sexual harassment and violence. Under the law, schools must take steps to prevent discrimination and respond promptly and effectively to complaints.
If you’re a victim of sexual discrimination in a school, understanding Title IX violations is key to getting the compensation and justice you deserve.
What Are Examples of Title IX Violations in Schools?
Title IX violations in schools and other educational settings include gender discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual violence, retaliation, and a hostile environment. The following Title IX violations list includes common violations.
- Gender-based bullying or slurs
- Discriminatory dress codes
- Unfair treatment, attitudes, or behaviors based on gender
- Unwelcome sexual behavior, requests, or advances
- Sexual abuse, assault, coercion, or battery
- Sexual harassment
- Attempted or completed rape
- Inappropriate contact or touching
- Sexually suggestive jests, innuendos, whistles, or catcalls
These violations can occur in various settings—not just in the classroom. Title IX cases often involve university sports programs, such as the lawsuit involving the Michigan State University women’s swimming and diving team or the lawsuit against Northwestern University involving a former member of the women’s lacrosse team.
However, Title IX applies to all school-sponsored activities and programs, including athletic programs, housing, and offices. It encompasses all individuals, including students, faculty, administrative staff, and other full- or part-time employees. It protects all individuals in applicable settings, regardless of whether they’re employees or students.
In addition to direct discrimination, such as intimidation or gender-based bullying, Title IX violations can stem from retaliation or a hostile work environment. Examples include:
- Revenge against an individual due to a filed complaint
- Lost promotions due to a filed complaint
- Firing or loss of benefits due to a filed complaint
- Intimidating or offensive comments that create a hostile environment and cause fear
- Ongoing offensive discriminatory or sexual commentary that creates a hostile environment
What Is Not a Protected Activity Under Title IX?
While Title IX is designed to protect against sexual bias in educational settings, it has limits. Title IX only applies to specific situations, particularly those occurring in institutions receiving federal financial assistance.
For example, an elementary, secondary, or private undergraduate school with single-sex admissions policies would not violate Title IX despite having a policy contradicting the basis of Title IX. This is because Title IX policies against sexual discrimination apply solely to vocational, professional, graduate, and public undergraduate schools receiving federal funding.
Consider sororities, fraternities, the Camp Fire Girls, the YMCA, YWCA, or the Girls and Boys Scouts, which outline similar policies. These groups’ membership policies are exempt from Title IX’s prohibitions.
In addition, colleges, universities, and private schools receiving federal funding can apply for Title IX religious exemptions if following the rules would conflict with the organization’s religious beliefs.
What Procedures Do Schools Need to Have in Place To Address Sexual Harassment?
Title IX applies to all types of educational settings, programs, and activities that receive federal financial assistance. This includes colleges and universities but can also apply to any other education program receiving federal funds, such as financial assistance.
Under Title IX, schools must implement and follow mandated protocols to address complaints promptly and thoroughly. These mandates require schools to investigate and mediate all formal complaints of sexual harassment following a grievance process that ticks off certain boxes.
Federal regulations outline specific grievance process requirements. Under these regulations, a school receiving a grievance must do the following:
- Provide written notices of allegations to both parties
- Utilize trained Title IX personnel to thoroughly and objectively examine all aspects of the allegation
- Protect both party’s privacy by requiring a party’s written consent to use medical or treatment records during the grievance process
- Apply a presumption of innocence to the respondent throughout the grievance process,
- Hold a live hearing and allow cross-examination by party advisers if the institution is post-secondary
- Provide an equal opportunity to appeal to both parties
- Send written determination to both parties covering responsibility, explaining how and why the decision-maker reached certain conclusions
- Implement remedies to solve the complaint if one party is found responsible
- Protect all involved individuals from retaliation for reporting, participating, or refusing to participate in this process
- Ensure the decision-maker and investigator or Title IX coordinator aren’t the same person
- Maintain documents and records of all sexual harassment reports and investigations
What Are Title IX Penalties?
The consequences of Title IX violations can significantly impact educational institutions that fail to uphold due processes under this legislation.
When an educational institution fails to comply with Title IX regulations, it may lose federal funding as a penalty. In addition to losing federal funding, the educational facility can be held liable in court for failing to adequately address and rectify allegations in school-sponsored activities or programs.
The U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights enforces Title IX regulations and investigates complaints against the school. During investigations, the Office for Civil Rights evaluates the school’s reporting and investigation processes to ensure they are prompt, equitable, and uphold the rights of involved parties.
This helps ensure that educational institutions receiving federal funding comply with the law. If the school’s processes don’t align with Title IX requirements, the Office for Civil Rights helps resolve the allegations promptly, fairly, and appropriately.
How Can a Lawyer Help With Your Title IX Case?
Title IX cases are often overwhelming and stressful for all involved parties. Students or faculty bringing the complaint may be overwhelmed by the idea of proving the incident. Conversely, students and faculty may feel equally intimidated by the prospect of defending themselves against an accusation of sexual discrimination or misconduct.
Given the potential severity of the consequences of Title IX violations for the accuser and the accused, hiring a skilled lawyer is crucial. An experienced lawyer can help navigate your Title IX case by doing the following:
- Thoroughly examining your educational institution’s Title IX policies
- Helping prepare the victim for hearings and interviews, if applicable
- Ensuring the school upholds the victim’s rights and presents relevant evidence
- Protecting the victim from retaliation by the school, staff, faculty, perpetrator, or others
- Confirming the school follows its own Title IX procedures and policies
- Offering sound legal guidance throughout the process
- Filing a complaint with the federal Office of Civil Rights if the school fails to comply with Title IX
- Filing a civil lawsuit against a school for failing to uphold due procedures or violating the individual’s rights
Without an experienced Title IX lawyer, students and faculty may not be aware of their due process rights, which could result in severe legal ramifications, such as criminal charges. Due to the potential severity of outcomes, hiring a top-rated lawyer is essential.
Contact a Skilled Title IX Lawyer to Discuss Your Case
Title IX cases are often complex and require extensive evidence to prove responsibility. If you or a loved one has been a victim of a Title IX violation in school, seeking help from a lawyer is your next step. Skilled lawyers can help you navigate your case and ensure the educational institution upholds your rights.
Our experienced lawyers at Warner Law Offices are experienced with Title IX cases and have served West Virginia and the surrounding area for over 20 years. Let us help you seek the compensation you deserve. Contact our office at (304) 345-6789 or fill out our online contact form to start with a free consultation.