Title IX

What is a Title IX Complaint?

Title IX (Title Nine) of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education activities, programs, and employment. It covers all forms of discrimination based on sex and applies to all institutions that receive federal financial assistance. While most people associate Title IX with gender parity in sports, the federal law also contains provisions that protect students, faculty, and staff from sexual harassment on campus.

“Sexual Harassment” under this law includes:

  • • Unwelcome sexual advances
  • • Requests for sexual favors
  • • Sexual violence, including dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking

When someone has made a claim of sexual harassment under Title IX, that means that they have reported an alleged incident to school officials, who are then required to embark on a grievance procedure allowing for adequate, reliable, and impartial investigation of complaints. Every school can adopt their own specific procedures that comply with the Title IX rules, but the law requires that there be an investigation, a hearing before a neutral arbiter, and a process for filing an appeal to any final decision.

The results of a Title IX complaint could end up being expulsion or termination of employment from the school, as well as end up on a student’s “permanent record,” making it harder for them to get into other schools.

Do I need a lawyer for a Title IX complaint?

Yes! You need an experienced Title IX defense lawyer. At any point in the Title IX process, either party--the complainant and/or the defendant—have the right to an advocate or counsel on their behalf. For someone being accused of sexual harassment or assault, it is important that they are represented, because what happens in the Title IX procedure could have consequences in a potential criminal investigation or charges by local authorities.

Yes! You need an experienced Title IX defense lawyer. At any point in the Title IX process, either party--the complainant and/or the defendant—have the right to an advocate or counsel on their behalf. For someone being accused of sexual harassment or assault, it is important that they are represented, because what happens in the Title IX procedure could have consequences in a potential criminal investigation or charges by local authorities.

How do you know if you’re the subject of a Title IX Sexual Harassment Complaint?

If someone has made a complaint to school officials alleging sexual harassment, stalking, assault or any other sexual misconduct on campus, the alleged offender has the right to be notified of the complaint. Usually this is in the form of a letter that comes from the school notifying them of the complaint itself and the due process the school affords them under Title IX and their own rules.

Thereafter the accused will be contacted by someone working as an investigator for the school. Sometimes this is a trained, neutral staff member or administrator. Sometimes it is a lawyer. The process is designed to be transparent for all parties, so nothing should be done by the school without disclosure to both the person making the complaint, and the accused.

Depending on the circumstances surrounding the accusation, the investigator may only be talking to the two parties involved. However, the investigation is not limited, and the investigator can, and may speak with other relevant witnesses, and review relevant documents provided by the parties or otherwise received. There are rules about what kind of evidence can be obtained by the investigator and/or used by the adjudicator(s) to make a final decision.

AdobeStock_211581532

What do I do if I am the subject of a Title IX Complaint?

While it may be to the accused’s benefit to speak to the investigator, it also may be a bad idea and could disadvantage them in a potential criminal case. Every case is different, and the strategy for defending a Title IX complaint begins as soon as there has been an accusation of sexual misconduct. Sometimes taking the matter all the way to a hearing is what needs to happen. Other times a negotiated settlement is more appropriate. Either way it’s important that an accused not go through the process alone.

If you have received a letter or other notice from an educational institution that you are the subject of a sexual harassment complaint under Title IX, don’t talk to anyone until you’ve consulted with a lawyer. Catherine can explain the process, your rights, the potential consequences, and potential defenses to a Title IX complaint. Catherine is an experienced Title IX defense lawyer and can help. Call today for a free consultation!