Should I Hire An Attorney For My Title IX Case?

Should I Hire An Attorney For My Title IX Case?

Should I Hire An Attorney For My Title IX Case?

Do you work at a K-12 school or university? If so, you may be protected by Title IX if you have experienced sex discrimination or sexual harassment at work.  Title IX prohibits sex discrimination in any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. This means that employees working for local school districts, colleges, universities, libraries, museums, and other similar institutions that receive federal financial assistance may be covered.

What Does Title IX Cover?

Title IX became famous for requiring equality in student athletics. More recently it has been widely used to combat rape and sexual assault on university campuses. But Title IX can also be used by employees of educational institutions.

For example, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals recently found that an ex-resident who complained about sexual harassment in her residency program at a teaching hospital could bring claims in court under both Title IX and Title VII. Title VII only applies to employment discrimination and has different procedural requirements and remedies than Title IX.

And the U.S. Supreme Court held in Jackson v. Birmingham Board of Education, 544 U.S. 167, 171 (2005) that a high school coach could bring a retaliation claim under Title IX when the school fired him from his coaching role after he complained that the girls’ basketball team received unequal treatment based on sex.

Before bringing a court case, you may want to go through the Title IX complaint and investigation process.

How Do I File A Title IX Complaint?

The United States Department of Education – Office for Civil Rights investigates, evaluates, and resolves Title IX complaints. You must file your complaint within 180 days of the discrimination, or if you use an institutional grievance process, within 60 days after the institutional grievance process concludes.

What Happens During The Investigation Process?

After you file your complaint, a Title IX investigator notifies the accused of the complaint and opens an investigation. The investigator gathers documents, emails, text messages, social media posts, and other material relating to the allegations in the complaint. The investigator will also conduct interviews with you, the accused, and witnesses.

When the investigator finishes information gathering, both parties may comment on the information that the investigator has compiled. The investigator takes these comments into consideration when analyzing and weighing the evidence and determining whether it is more likely than not that the alleged discrimination or harassment occurred. The investigator writes a final report with their conclusions and determinations about whether your allegations have been substantiated.

Do I Need A Lawyer For My Title IX Case?

You have the right to an advisor throughout the Title IX investigation process. Your advisor does not need to be a lawyer, but a lawyer familiar with the Title IX process can:

  • Help you identify and gather documentation and witnesses that support your complaint;
  • Prepare you in advance of your interview with the Title IX investigator so that you present your evidence and account of events effectively;
  • Attend the Title IX interview with you;
  • Help you respond to the evidence that the investigator has gathered, including rebutting or contextualizing unfavorable evidence or witness statements;
  • Assist in responding to the investigator’s final report, including helping you craft requests for action from your educational institution;
  • Help you evaluate whether you should file a court case, including whether you should also file claims under Title VII or the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).