Are you facing Title IX allegations? A Title IX violation on your record is a potentially serious matter, so you need an experienced representative to guide you through the process. Ohio Title IX advisor Joseph Lento wants to help – here's a look at what Title IX means, how it's enforced, and what penalties may apply.
A Guide to Title IX
Title IX, a key part of the Education Amendments of 1972, begins as follows:
“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, or be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal assistance…”
Put simply, then, Title IX prohibits schools from discriminating against anyone based on their gender. It helps ensure women enjoy the same opportunities as men, and it protects individuals from sexual violence or misconduct.
Given how important Title IX is, every school receiving Federal funds must:
- Ensure all students, regardless of gender, enjoy equal opportunities;
- Quickly investigate Title IX complaints; and
- Proactively try to prevent discrimination on campus.
If a school fails to follow Title IX rules or doesn't take its obligations seriously, then it may lose its funding. As a result, schools are sometimes very quick to act in a complainant's favor, which is why respondents often benefit from the help of a Title IX attorney-advisor.
Title IX Applicability
Title IX covers any institution which provides an education and receives any amount of Federal funding. Meaning, most schools and colleges must play by Title IX rules.
In terms of applicability, Title IX protects all students and employees at relevant institutions, including:
- Faculty members
- Sports coaches
Just as Title IX may protect you from sexual harassment and gender-based discrimination, it can also be used against you.
The Title IX Process
The Title IX process varies slightly by institution; however, there are steps that every school must follow.
- Complaint: Every Title IX case begins with a formal complaint made by a person on campus. This typically means following the complaints procedure set out in the school handbook, e.g., complaining to the school's Title IX Coordinator or Title IX Compliance Officer.
- Notification: Should the school decide there are grounds to investigate matters, they'll notify you of any allegations made against you. As an employee, remember this: you should be treated with dignity and respect at all times. You also have a right to some degree of privacy and prompt investigations; however, schools don't always follow the rules, which is why it's best to have an attorney-advisor on your side.
- Meeting: The school's Title IX investigator will hear from both sides and consider the evidence available. It's generally the school's responsibility to collect the evidence needed to prove the complainant's case; however, an attorney-advisor can walk you through what's required of you at this stage. At this point, the complaint may be dismissed,, or the investigator could decide that the issues merit further investigation.
- Report: Once the preliminary investigations are complete, the school's investigator prepares a report. You are entitled to view this report and suggest changes if relevant – an attorney-advisor can give you more advice on this. After finalizing the report, the investigator sends the document to the school's Title IX Coordinator. The report may recommend the complaint beis dismissed, or matters will proceed to the next stage.
- Proceedings: If there are grounds to investigate a Title IX complaint, formal proceedings begin and the case usually goes to a Title IX hearing (although, such hearings could be optional at the K-12 level). At the hearing, you can make your case and, where relevant, cross-examine witnesses. Title IX hearings can be complex, so it's best to hire an experienced Title IX advisor to ensure you present your case in the best light.
- Decision: You should receive a written notice explaining the school's decision. This could mean at least some of the allegations have been dismissed, or the complaint has been upheld, and the school will enforce disciplinary action against you.
- Appeals: If the school decides you violated Title IX, it might be possible to appeal the decision if any of the following grounds apply:
- There's a demonstrable conflict of interest which made the decision against you more likely.
- The school didn't apply Title IX law fairly.
- There are clear procedural irregularities that which affected the decision.
- Evidence is now available which could change the outcome.
- Experienced Title IX attorney-advisor Joseph Lento can advise you whether an appeal is possible based on your unique situation.
Consequences of Title IX Violations
Unsurprisingly, a Title IX violation may have short and long-term consequences for student-employees and school personnel. If the school upholds a Title IX complaint against you, punishments you might face include:
- Exclusion from school
- Loss of employment
- Loss of tenure
- Disciplinary probation
- School suspension
- Verbal or written warning
Not only could you lose your job or your place at school, but depending on the complaint, you might find it challenging to secure a place elsewhere. Contact an experienced OH Title IX advisor urgently for advice if you're facing disciplinary action.
How an Ohio Title IX Advisor Can Help You
Since Title IX allegations can have serious consequences, don't try to handle the situation alone. <