Pursuant to Title IX of the Education Amendments Act, no person shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in or be denied the benefits of any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance. This law applies to all schools, public or private, that receive federal funds. Nearly all private colleges and universities receive federal funding because their students receive federal financial aid. Applicability of Title IX has expanded over the years, and now victims of sexual harassment and assault often invoke this law to file lawsuits against their colleges if they fail to comply with their Title IX obligations.
In order to comply with Title IX, educational institutions must meet several requirements. First, female and male athletes must receive athletic scholarship dollars proportional to their participation. Second, student-athletes of both sexes must receive equal treatment in terms of:
Third, schools must meet one of the following requirements:
Victims of sexual harassment, or, if the victim is a minor, their parents, can file a lawsuit against their school.
When a plaintiff prevails in a Title IX lawsuit, the court may grant various types of relief. First, a plaintiff may be granted injunctive relief. This means that the school is ordered to rectify the problematic conduct that led to the Title IX violations by performing (or ceasing) a specific action. Victims of sexual harassment do not have to prove that their college actually knew of the harassment to be awarded injunctive relief. Even if you have already graduated by the time the court hears your case, you may still be entitled to an injunction to prevent other students from being harmed.
Sometimes, instead of an injunction, a court will instruct a school to draft a compliance plan aimed to help it come into compliance with Title IX. The court then monitors the school to ensure compliance is attained.
Victims of sexual harassment are also entitled to monetary compensation for their injuries, if they can demonstrate that their school intentionally failed to comply with Title IX. In successful lawsuits, courts also award attorneys fees to victims.
Try to compile a list of ways that your school fails to comply with Title IX. Specific examples are most useful. Gather all your records, and take notes of interviews, phone calls, texts, and meetings you have had with the school on the issue. It is best to record your notes immediately following your meeting or phone call, while the information is fresh in your mind.
Victims of Title IX violations must file their lawsuit within a certain statutorily specified period of time. This can vary from state to state, depending on where your college is located. The statute of limitations ranges from about one year to six years. Consult with an experienced civil rights lawyer to ensure your rights are protected and your claim is filed within the appropriate statute of limitations.
If you suspect that your school has failed to comply with the requirements of Title IX, we can help. Title IX benefits everyone, both women and men. We understand the highly sensitive issues involved in Title IX cases, and will work to help you seek more than just financial compensation for the harm you have suffered. Contact the dedicated Pennsylvania civil rights lawyers at Williams Cuker Berezofsky today at 215-557-0099 or submit an online contact form.