Title IX

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is the federal law that protects students and employees from discrimination on the basis of sex at public and private schools, colleges, and universities that receive federal funding. The law requires those educational institutions to maintain policies and practices that prohibit discrimination based on sex. A school may be held legally responsible when it knows about and does nothing to stop sexual harassment or assault in its programs or activities. Go to the U.S. Department of Education’s website here or the American Civil Liberty Union’s fact sheet here for more information about Title IX.

Sexual Harassment Is Prohibited By Title IX

Sexual harassment and sexual violence, such as rape and sexual assault, are forms of discrimination on the basis of sex that are prohibited by Title IX. Title IX’s reach encompasses sexual harassment and sexual violence perpetrated by students, faculty and school staff. Both male and female students and employees are protected from sexual harassment and sexual violence under Title IX.

All incidents of sexual violence should be reported to the police immediately. Individuals who are subjected to sexual harassment or violence should report the misconduct to the school by following the school’s sexual harassment grievance procedure. Title IX requires schools to promptly investigate and respond to incidents of sexual harassment or sexual violence, even if a student or his or her parent do not want to make a complaint.

Information regarding the sexual harassment grievance procedure should be included in the student and employee handbooks or may be obtained from the Title IX coordinator. All school districts, colleges and universities are supposed to have Title IX coordinators, individuals specifically designated to receive complaints of sexual harassment. For more information about a school’s responsibility to respond to complaints of sexual harassment and violence, go to this fact sheet from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights or the American Civil Liberty Union’s fact sheet here.

Title IX Allows For Private Lawsuits

Title IX allows sexual harassment victims to file private lawsuits in federal court. No prior complaint to the U.S. Department of Education is required. The remedies available under Title IX are similar to those available in work place discrimination lawsuits, and include injunctive relief and monetary damages.

A school that already has deliberately ignored known harassment or assault on campus may be liable under Title IX. I have experience representing students and school employees who were victims of sexual harassment and assault. If you or your child has experienced sexual harassment or violence at school, contact me here.