Title IX Advisor for College Employees – Massachusetts

What Is Title IX?

Title IX is a law that was passed in 1972. It says that schools that get money from the government cannot discriminate against students or employees based on their sex. The most famous thing to come from Title IX was the increase in opportunities for female athletes. There were 170,000 male student-athletes when Title IX was passed compared to 30,000 women. Over time, Title IX has closed this gap considerably and now is almost 50/50. Title IX is not just for female athletes. It was passed to make sure that there is no sex discrimination of any kind in schools. If someone feels like they have been discriminated against or harmed because of their gender, they might make a Title IX claim.

What Types of Claims Are Title IX Claims?

Title IX is a law that protects people from gender-based harm. This includes sexual violence and sexual harassment. If someone feels like they have been harmed by these things, they can make a complaint to the school. The school is then required to investigate the complaint to see if the policies against sexual violence and sexual harassment have been violated. If the investigation finds that a rule about gender-based discrimination was violated, the school will decide what kind of punishment is appropriate. It is important to know that the goal of a Title IX investigation is to find out if any rules about gender-based discrimination were broken, not to see if anyone broke any laws. It's possible to face a potential criminal case at the same time, but they are completely separate processes.

Who Can Face a Title IX Claim?

Anyone that is affiliated with a school that receives any type of federal funding can face a Title IX claim. Title IX is meant to protect anyone that has any dealings with a school from discrimination, sexual harassment, or sexual assault. The people involved in a Title IX claim can be students, parents, employees, and school applicants. If you are a professor or other high-level employee at a college or university, then you can face a Title IX claim if discrimination is alleged. Research assistants and teacher's assistants can also face Title IX claims which can result in the assistant not being able to get their degrees if found responsible. A Title IX claim can be a career-ender for anyone who is found responsible, so it is critical to get experienced legal help.

Title IX Grievance Process Overview

Recent enforcement updates to Title IX now place the responsibility of investigation of claims on colleges and universities. These requirements include:

  • Both sides of the case are given written notice of accusations and are given a chance to hire an attorney
  • Both sides of the case are given a chance to present and review evidence that is obtained during an investigation
  • Trained Title IX investigators must objectively review and evaluate any allegations
  • Medical records will not be viewed without written consent
  • Informal resolutions require written consent to be discussed
  • Anyone accused of a Title IX violation is given the presumption of innocence
  • A school can choose either the “preponderance of evidence” standard or a “clear and convincing evidence” standard as the burden of proof
  • The investigator and decision-maker must be different people
  • Schools are required to conduct a live hearing and allow cross-examination of witnesses
  • K-12 schools under Title IX do not have to conduct a live hearing but must allow both sides of the case to submit written questions for the other side to answer
  • Anyone alleging sexual assault is covered by rape-shield laws
  • Findings of responsibility must be in writing and be sent to both sides of the case, including explanations of any decisions
  • Both parties have the right to appeal any findings

This process can be daunting and complex; it is important that you understand how these steps function if you plan to effectively defend your case.

How an Attorney-Advisor Helps

If you are being accused of misconduct at your Massachusetts college or university, then an attorney-advisor can help you in several ways and can include:

  • Separation: Your statements can be used in Title IX hearings, civil hearings, and criminal cases. It can be helpful to get some separation from a pending investigation. Make sure you speak to an attorney-advisor before you make any statements regarding an investigation.
  • Investigation: An attorney-advisor can lead an investigation to find evidence that the college or university may not have uncovered. Different types of investigations can take place, including scene visits, witness interviews, and forensic analysis. The results of these investigations can be very helpful in your defense.
  • Negotiation: If it is determined that negotiating a resolution to your case is the best option, then an attorney-advisor can help you reach an agreement with the other party. This would resolve the case, as well as any claims, and have a predetermined punishment. Cases that are resolved through negotiation also finish more quickly.
  • Representation: If you are facing a Title IX grievance, then having an attorney-advisor represent you can help ensure that you follow the rules and procedures correctly.

Make sure you have experienced help if you are facing allegations at a Massachusetts school. If you have legal questions, then call us at the Lento Law Firm!

Why Hiring the Lento Law Firm Is the Right Choice

If you have legal questions related to a Title IX violation allegation at a college or university in Massachusetts, then it is important to seek the advice of an experienced attorney-advisor. Attorney-advisor Joseph D. Lento has helped college employees across the country with various legal issues. Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to learn why hiring the Lento Law Firm is the right choice to help you with your case.