What is Title IX?
Title IX is a federal civil rights statute that prohibits gender-based discrimination committed by or against students, staff or faculty on the campus of a higher education institution. Once a school is informed of discrimination in a college or university, it is obligated by law to handle these cases, by conducting an investigation, reprimanding and even imposing disciplinary actions against perpetrators. Title IX has been applied in a broad range of circumstances throughout the years, but in recent years, it's mostly been commonly referenced in cases involving sexual misconduct.
Sexual misconduct is considered gender-based discrimination under Title IX. This means that schools are required to handle these cases once they are reported. Alleged sexual misconduct that occurs between students, and among students and faculty mandates all parties to undergo Title IX processes.
If you are a member of the faculty or staff in a college or university you should contact an attorney to ensure all of your rights are protected in the midst of these processes.
Complaints Against College Employees
Title IX procedures will be used to investigate and resolve complaints of sexual misconduct and other discriminatory practices forbidden by federal law against employees of the college (faculty, professors, coaches, staff, graduate assistants, teaching assistants etc.) Even as respondents, employees of a higher education institution are granted rights that the school is responsible for upholding. If you are an employee who has received a complaint, you are granted the following rights by your employer:
- A prompt and thorough investigation of allegations
- Access to the university's Title IX and sexual misconduct policy
- Privacy (within the extent of university policy)
- To be treated with respect and dignity
- Notification of the allegations made against you, the case resolution and the outcome of appeals
Although schools are expected to play by the rules, this isn't always the case. Sometimes schools deviate from the rules listed in their own code of conduct, which could disadvantage respondents. But with the help of an attorney, a “litigation hold” letter could be sent to school authorities, warning them that legal action could be taken if the unfair treatment continues.
Mandatory Reporting and the "Responsible Employee"
Employees of a college may also find themselves in a difficult situation if they fail to comply with Title IX's mandatory reporting regulations. These rules require “responsible employees” the task of reporting instances of suspected sexual misconduct in all circumstances. Whether a student comes to an employee out of secrecy or an employee becomes aware of the alleged misconduct due to hearsay, it must be reported to the school's Title IX coordinator. The failure to do so could ultimately lead to Title IX charges.
Pennsylvania Title IX Attorney
If you are an employee of a college or university and have been accused of sexual misconduct or failing to report this behavior, you should consult with an attorney. Skilled legal professional Joseph D. Lento has extensive experience successfully representing people who have been in your predicament. Contact him today.
Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania schools, although specific to students, gives an idea as to how each individual school defines its Title IX disciplinary model and procedures:
- ALVERNIA UNIVERSITY