As an employee in the education sector, Title IX allegations could seriously jeopardize your long-term career prospects. If you're notified of a Title IX complaint against you, contact Illinois Title IX Advisor Joseph Lento to schedule a consultation. But to help you understand what to expect from the process, here's a breakdown of how Title IX works.
What Is Title IX?
Title IX is an anti-discrimination law. It's part of the Education Amendments of 1972, and its goal is to ensure that females have access to the same opportunities as males in schools. What's more, schools can't permit actions, such as sexual misconduct, which could interfere with a female's chance to pursue the same opportunities as a male.
Prohibited actions under Title IX include:
- Gender-based bullying
- Gender-based discrimination
- Sexual harassment or violence
- Stereotyping based on gender
For example, under Title IX, schools can't:
- Favor men for scholarship opportunities;
- Allow gender-based discrimination in sport; or
- Refuse to employ someone based on gender.
Title IX also requires schools to proactively prevent sex-based discrimination and harassment, so all schools receiving federal funds must have Title IX procedures in place. For example, the University of Chicago has a Policy on Title IX Sexual Harassment, and Illinois College has its own Policy on Gender Bases, Sexual & Interpersonal Violence.
Who Does Title IX Apply to?
Every school in receipt of federal funds, whether it's a public or private school, must abide by the Title IX rules. The rules cover all students and staff, including faculty members, coaches, administrative staff, and professors. Title IX also applies to student-employees.
If a school fails to uphold its Title IX obligations, it could lose access to funding. As a result, schools may be excessively strict or overzealous when enforcing Title IX, which is why you need a Title IX attorney-advisor on your side.
What Happens if There's a Title IX Decision Made Against You?
If your school upholds a Title IX complaint against you, the consequences for employees and student-employees can be severe, including:
- Loss of employment
- Loss of tenure
Given the severity of the potential punishments, you should contact IL Title IX advisor Joseph Lento immediately if you're an employee facing a Title IX allegation.
What Are the Stages of a Title IX Action?
The Title IX process is complex and subject to change. However, here's a rough overview of what to expect from Title IX proceedings.
Every school has its own Title IX process. However, they normally begin with an individual filing a complaint against one or more parties.
- The complaint should be made to the school's Title IX Coordinator.
- If the Title IX Coordinator believes there are grounds to move forward, they will initiate Title IX proceedings.
Any persons named in the complaint receive formal notice of the allegations made against them. The notice must provide you with certain details, including the complainant's name, and it should outline the complaint made.
As a college employee, you're entitled to a reasonable degree of privacy, and fair and dignified treatment throughout the Title IX process.
At this early stage, you and the complainant meet with the school's investigator to discuss matters. The investigator discusses the evidence and may interview witnesses where appropriate.
Schools sometimes lack the resources to complete these investigations diligently. You should hire an experienced Title IX advisor at this stage to ensure the school follows due process.
Report of Findings
The investigator, at this stage, submits a final report of their findings. Both parties can review the report and, if required, suggest amendments.
Once the report is finalized, it goes to the school's Title IX Coordinator. Unless the report states that no Title IX violation took place, disciplinary proceedings begin.
Unless it's a K-12 school or lower, the school must hold a live Title IX hearing. At this stage, both parties can present their evidence and cross-examine witnesses, which is why it's crucial you have an experienced representative at your side.
For schools under the K-12 level, Title IX hearings are optional.
Notice of Decision
The school should provide parties with notice of the decision after the disciplinary process concludes.
- The school may decide there was no Title IX violation which means the case is dismissed.
- If the school upholds the complaint against you, a Title IX advisor can explain if you can appeal the decision.
There are certain circumstances when either party in a Title IX action can appeal the decision. Although the exact circumstances vary by institution, you can often appeal a Title IX decision if any of the following arguments apply.
- The primary decision-maker had a conflict of interest which affected the outcome.
- The school erred when applying Title IX rules to your case.
- New evidence is now available which, had it been available at the time, could have changed the decision.
- The school failed to correct procedural irregularities which affected the decision.
Illinois Title IX advisor Joseph Lento can explain if there are grounds to appeal a Title IX decision made against you.
Experienced Title IX Advisor in Illinois
Whether you're a faculty member or student-employee, a Title IX finding against you can jeopardize your prospects and possibly damage your reputation among your colleagues. Joseph Lento understands how serious Title IX allegations can be, and he wants to ensure schools follow due process so that you get the fair hearing you deserve.
As an experienced Title IX attorney-advisor, Joseph Lento has successfully defended many individuals facing Title IX allegations, and he's committed to applying his knowledge and experience to your case. Whether it's having the allegations dismissed or negotiating a fair deal, Joseph Lento wants to help you today. Tell him about your Title IX issue online or call the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686.