Are you a college employee in Georgia facing Title IX allegations? If so, you need an attorney-advisor's help to ensure you present the best possible defense. Here is a breakdown of how Title IX works, how it affects college employees, and what you might expect from disciplinary action.
Title IX is a Federal civil rights law. It amended the Higher Education Act of 1965 and forms part of the Education Amendments of 1972.
Under Title IX, schools that receive any type of federal funding can't discriminate against students based on gender. They must treat all students equally and ensure every female student can access the same opportunities as men.
Examples of behavior prohibited under Title IX include:
- Classroom discrimination
- Gender-based bullying
- Sex-based harassment, e.g., sexual harassment, relationship violence
- Unfair access to college sports
Colleges must take steps to prevent gender-based discrimination and harassment on campus, and they must have clear procedures in place for reporting and investigating Title IX allegations. Otherwise, they risk losing federal funding.
Who Title IX Protects
Title IX protects students and employees of Federally funded education institutions, including professors, faculty members, administrators, sports coaches, and student-employees.
These same individuals are entitled to bring complaints under Title IX for alleged violations.
Consequences of a Title IX Violation
The consequences of a Title IX finding against college employees and student-employees vary depending on the allegations. However, common punishments for Title IX violations include:
- Job loss
- Loss of tenure
- Suspension or expulsion
- Written or verbal warning
Any Title IX allegation on your record could jeopardize your chances of finding school or career opportunities elsewhere. It could also damage your reputation at school and your personal relationships.
The Title IX Disciplinary Process
Title IX rules mean that colleges must thoroughly investigate every complaint made by an individual. Each school must have its own processes for investigating these Title IX complaints; however, they generally follow a certain template.
Although you can learn more about Title IX actions by reading the relevant school policies, this is no substitute for hiring an experienced Title IX attorney-advisor who is familiar with the – sometimes overzealous – tactics colleges use when investigating these cases.
- Complaint Filed Every school bound to comply with the rules needs a Title IX Coordinator who can receive complaints from individuals regarding Title IX matters. The Title IX Coordinator may decide that, based on the complaint, there's no case to answer and dismiss the issue. Or they could decide to pursue a Title IX against you and begin formal proceedings.
- Notification Sent to Respondents After receiving the person's complaint, the Title IX Coordinator must notify you of the allegations. They must also provide you with sufficient information to respond, e.g., the complainant's name and their version of events. You should consider hiring a GA Title IX advisor at this stage to ensure the school follows Title IX rules and affords you dignity, privacy, and respect.
- School Investigates the Complaint Every Title IX allegation begins with some preliminary investigations undertaken by an appointed investigator. You will have the chance to meet with the investigator, state your version of events, and present any available evidence.
- Investigator's Report Filed The school investigator completes their report and makes it available for all parties to view. This is your opportunity to respond to the school's findings and propose any relevant changes. Once the report is completed, the investigator sends it to the Title IX Coordinator.
- Title IX Decision Made At this point, the school considers the report and decides whether to proceed with disciplinary action. The school may dismiss the complaint or decide to move forward. Formal Title IX hearings are required at the college level if the school believes a Title IX violation possibly took place. You're entitled to a neutral arbiter – a Title IX attorney-advisor can ensure this happens.
- Title IX Hearing Takes Place It's on the school to show that, on the preponderance of the evidence, a Title IX violation took place. However, the hearing is your key opportunity to challenge evidence, cross-examine witnesses, and present your best defense. Given how high the stakes are in Title IX matters, if you haven't already instructed a Title IX attorney-advisor, you should consider doing so before the hearing.
- Final Decision Made At this stage, the school communicates its decision to all parties involved. There are various outcomes; for example, the school might dismiss the allegations, or they could uphold the complaint and proceed to enforce disciplinary action against you.
- Appeal Filed If you're a college employee found in violation of Title IX, don't lose hope just yet. Normally, any party in a Title IX action can appeal the decision on certain grounds. The University System of Georgia, for example, lays out the following grounds of appeal for Title IX accusations involving employees.
- The school failed to follow Title IX due process.
- There's evidence that the decision-maker has a conflict of interest which affected the outcome.
- The decision is inconsistent with the evidence provided.
Every institution has its own appeals process; however, an experienced Title IX attorney-advisor can advise you whether there are grounds to move forward.
Hire a College Employee Title IX Advisor in Georgia
Are you a college employee facing Title IX accusations in Georgia? Joseph Lento, an experienced Title IX attorney-advisor, can help.
After successfully defending hundreds of students and employees against Title IX allegations, Joseph Lento has the skill and the knowledge to guide you through the disciplinary process. He will ensure that the school treats you fairly and upholds due process, and he'll strive to negotiate the best outcome for your case.
Given how complex Title IX disciplinary rules can be, you shouldn't try