What is Title IX?
Title IX is a federal civil rights law that essentially forbids gender- based discriminatory acts committed by or against students, staff and faculty in higher education institutions that are funded by the government (the majority of colleges and universities). The statute provides the following:
“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
The applicability of this law extends to sexual misconduct, which labels this behavior as gender-based discrimination. Schools are required by law to handle cases involving alleged sexual misconduct through Title IX processes. These processes entail an investigation and the imposition of disciplinary actions if a perpetrator is found responsible for this crime. Although most people are aware that schools handle cases involving accused students, employees of a college - faculty, professors, coaches, staff, graduate assistants, teaching assistants etc. - will also be required to undergo Title IX processes if they have been accused of sexual misconduct.
Complaints Against College Employees
As respondents, employees of the college are granted certain rights that the school is expected to uphold. Under Title IX and a school's code of conduct, employees have the following rights:
- Privacy (within the confines of university policy)
- Access to the college or university's Title IX and sexual misconduct policy
- To be treated with dignity and respect
- To receive the appropriate support and resources from the college or university
- Notification of the allegations made against you, the case resolution and the outcome of appeals
- A prompt and thorough investigation of allegations
Even though schools are expected to abide by the rules detailed in their own code of conduct, they don't always do so. In these cases, it would prove beneficial to seek legal help. An attorney has the authority to issue a “litigation hold” letter that is sent to school authorities, warning them that a lawsuit may be filed if the unfair treatment towards their client continues.
Mandatory Reporting and the “Responsible Employee”
Employees of a college may also find themselves with Title IX charges if it is proven that they failed to report sexual misconduct. Whether a student comes to a trusted professor out of secret or if hearsay suggests that a student was sexually harassed, this information must be relayed to a Title IX coordinator. This is the duty of people college employees called “responsible employees.” To find out if you are bestowed the duties of a responsible employee, you should reference your school's code of conduct.
New Jersey Title IX Attorney
If you are an employee of a university or college and are facing allegations of sexual misconduct or refusing to report an alleged instance sexual misconduct, you should consult with an attorney. Skilled legal professional Joseph D. Lento has extensive experience representing clients who have been in your shoes. Contact him today for assistance.
New Jersey Title IX disciplinary cases generally follow a similar process for both accused students and accused employees depending on the college or university involved. The following list of New Jersey schools, although specific to students, gives an idea as to how each individual school defines its Title IX disciplinary model and procedures: