“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” — Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972
Title IX supports the equal rights of all employees and students affiliated with elementary schools, high schools, universities, community colleges and four year degree colleges. Victims of gender discrimination, sexual assault or sexual harassment perpetrated by classmates, teachers, professors and any other school staff member have the right to sue the educational institution associated with that perpetrator under federal guidelines contained in Title IX.
Schools in violation of Title IX are typically schools that have failed to take action regarding allegations of discrimination or sexual harassment. Discriminatory practices included in Title IX also involve discrimination regarding federally assisted education programs and federal financial assistance.
Title IX and Federal Financial Assistance
Familiar types of federal financial assistance are cooperative agreements or grants providing awards of federal funds to people undertaking activities or the provision of services, benefits and goods to “beneficiaries”. Local and state governments and private entities generally receive federal financial assistance either through intermediaries or federal agencies.
For example, if the U.S. Department of Transportation awards block grants to a state, the state may award a portion of that grant to a community to repair local roads and bridges. “Beneficiaries” of this type of grant are the individuals benefiting from this federally supported program. Other examples of federal financial assistance include Department of Education operational expense grants to local and state educational departments and National Science Foundation awards to researchers and their universities.
Title IX and Sexual Discrimination/Harassment
Under Title IX, educational institutions and their employees are not permitted to:
- Treat individual students differently from other students when determining if students satisfy certain conditions or requirements for the purpose of receiving services, benefits and all other aid.
- Deny students benefits, services or aid based on gender.
- Subject any student to rules of sanctions or behaviors different or separate from standardized school rules.
- Perpetuate or support discrimination against students by providing assistance to any entity that appears to be engaging in discrimination or sexual harassment based on student gender.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, the definition of sexual harassment is conduct that is sexual in nature, is unwelcomed by the victim and limits or denies the student’s “ability to participate in or benefit from a school’s education program”.
Filing a Title IX Lawsuit
Victims of sexual harassment may file a private lawsuit at a federal court if they have tried to get their educational institution to comply with Title IX obligations but ultimately received little to no assistance from their school. Filing a Title IX lawsuit involves hiring an attorney or filing a lawsuit through the pro se clerk’s office of a federal court. However, relying on a seasoned Title IX attorney simplifies and expedites the initiation and progression of a Title IX lawsuit, since your case will be personally addressed by your attorney instead of languishing in an overwhelmed clerk’s office.
Be aware of time limits restricting the filing of a Title IX case. Time limits vary among states and can range from one year to six years. Title IX lawyers strongly recommend contacting an attorney as soon as possible if you think your Title IX rights have been violated.
What Happens If I Win My Title IX Lawsuit?
In addition to monetary compensation, you may be awarded “injunctive relief”. This means the educational institution losing the lawsuit is forced to prevent or perform an action that rectifies conduct leading to a Title IX violation. Sexual harassment victims do not need to provide proof that the school knew about the misconduct to be granted injunctive relief.
The law firm of Hayes Ruemmele LLC will aggressively pursue your Title IX lawsuit by providing skilled representation for schools accused of Title IX breaches or for individuals who feel their rights have been violated under the rules of Title IX. To schedule a consultation with our team of Title IX attorneys, call (317) 491-1050 or use this form to send an email directly to our Indianapolis office.
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Are you the victim of Title IX discrimination or sexual harassment? Call us today to learn how you can file a lawsuit and get the justice you deserve.