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“Harassment,” in general, refers to intimidating or threatening behavior or pressure. If this pressure is based on the victim’s sex, then the resulting sexual harassment squarely involves treating someone differently because of their sex. This would, on its face, qualify as sex discrimination, which can be a Title IX issue on a college campus. Our attorney for Title IX violation victims, Andrew Shubin, discusses when sexual harassment on a college campus can be treated as a Title IX violation and what to do if you are a victim of sexual harassment and sex discrimination in college.
Is Sexual Harassment in College a Title IX Issue?
Title IX is a piece of federal legislation that makes it illegal to discriminate “on the basis of sex.” These laws apply to every educational institution that receives federal funding, which means that nearly every college and university in the country is covered by Title IX. The question of whether sexual harassment qualifies as a Title IX issue then comes down to whether “sexual harassment” is considered a form of “sex discrimination” and whether the school can be held responsible for the acts of sexual harassment.
Sex discrimination means treating someone differently because of their sex. While sex discrimination claims in college generally refer to sex discrimination in athletics, scholarships, or equal access to educational opportunities and facilities, modern Title IX issues often deal with sexual assault and sexual harassment issues as well. Because sexual assault and sexual harassment are inherently based on the victim’s sex, they qualify as treatment “on the basis of sex” and would qualify as Title IX issues. This means that the school is required to avoid committing acts of institutional sexual assault and sexual harassment under Title IX.
Title IX generally only applies to the institution itself and its employees. This means that if the school or its employees were accused of sexually harassing a student or another employee, it would squarely count as a Title IX violation. However, the school can still be held responsible for Title IX violations for sexual harassment when the harassment is committed by other people, typically students. The school is responsible for creating an atmosphere of safety and equality, and if the school does not have policies in place to help prevent, discover, and punish sexual assault and sexual harassment, they may be considered responsible for the acts that do occur on their campus. In many instances, the university or college could even be considered complicit if they egg-on the harassment through their policies or embolden aggressors and harassers.
Filing Complaints and Lawsuits for Sexual Harassment at Colleges and Universities
If you were the victim of sexual harassment or other forms of sex and gender discrimination in college, you may be entitled to file a Title IX claim. Claims for Title IX violations at universities often come in two forms: 1.) complaints filed with the school and the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and 2.) lawsuits filed in court against the school.
OCR Complaints for Title IX Violations
When you undergo sex discrimination or sexual harassment in college, one of your first moves might be to report the harassment to the school. In some cases, you may be urged or required to file the claim as a complaint with the U.S Department of Education’s OCR as well. Many government agencies have OCRs or similar offices that handle claims of civil rights violations. These complaints are handled by the agency and may result in damages or changes to the school’s policies, potentially including punishments issued against the school. However, these complaints do not always help the victim get what they need.
Title XI Lawsuits
In many cases, you can file an independent lawsuit against the educational institution to seek compensation and other remedies if you were subjected to sex discrimination. These lawsuits help victims seek justice by getting them compensation for financial harm the discrimination caused them and getting them other benefits and remedies that the court can order to protect them and others like them from future discrimination. Talk to a lawyer about what damages and remedies you may be entitled to claim in court and whether a complaint or a lawsuit is right for your case.
College Sexual Harassment Victim Lawyer
The Law Office of Andrew Shubin represents victims of sexual harassment on college campuses. Our lawyers help victims file their complaints and work to protect them from retaliation for Title IX complaints. It is important to work with an attorney to learn more about filing your case and whether you need to file a complaint or a lawsuit. Our attorneys can go over the ins and outs of your case and help you understand your options and what compensation or other remedies you might be entitled to.
Colleges and universities might work to shut down claims of wrongdoing or insulate themselves from the actions of employees and students who do not conform to their apparent expectations. Working with a lawyer can help you fight these tactics so that you can hold the institution responsible for the sexual harassment you faced on their watch.
Call Our College Sexual Harassment Lawyer for a Free Consultation
If you or a loved one was the victim of sexual harassment on a college campus, call our attorney today. The Law Office of Andrew Shubin’s sexual harassment and civil rights lawyer represents victims of sex discrimination and other rights violations and fights to get them the justice they deserve. For a free legal consultation on your case, call us today at (814) 826-3586.