Does Title IX Apply to High School Teachers?

Fighting For Important Causes In State And Federal Courts

Title IX protects people of all sexes and genders from discrimination in education.  These sex discrimination rules typically apply to any educational institution that receives federal funding, working to give students a fair chance at seeking education and having their needs met without facing discrimination.  These rules also help to protect staff and faculty at these institutions.  High school teachers can typically call on Title IX’s protections to help in cases of sex discrimination in education.  The Title IX violation lawyer at The Law Office of Andrew Shubin explains.

Title IX Protections for High School Teachers

Teachers are protected from sex discrimination and other forms of discrimination under Title VII employment discrimination protections.  However, many cases of sex discrimination in education are better handled through Title IX for teachers and professors.  While many people think of Title IX as helping protect against discrimination against students or in school athletics, sex discrimination against high school teachers and other educators is another of the important functions of Title IX.

Title IX applies to most educational institutions that receive federal funding, including private and public high schools.

What Constitutes Sex Discrimination Under Title IX for Teachers?

In the context of employing teachers, some examples of sex discrimination are quite obvious.  For instance, failing to hire women in favor of less-qualified men simply on the basis of sex would be a clear-cut case of sex discrimination in education.  However, most instances of sex discrimination are not quite so obvious.

Examples of Sex Discrimination Against Teachers

The term “sex discrimination” applies to any situation where someone is treated differently because of their sex.  Cases of sex discrimination in employment typically cover situations where employment benefits or promotions are denied because of sex, or where unwanted attention and penalties are issued because of sex.  For high school teachers, this could involve employment decisions such as the following:

  • Denying tenure
  • Overloading the teacher with additional work or large classes
  • Denying a teacher’s requests for funding or aid
  • Ignoring a teacher’s legitimate complaints or requests

Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment

Sex discrimination can also involve institutional sexual assault and sexual harassment.  Sexual assault and unwanted physical contact are inherently tied to the victim’s sex making them illegal under Title IX.  Alongside other laws protecting against sexual assault, Title IX can protect against sexual assault committed by a member of a school’s staff, faculty, or administration

Sexual harassment usually occurs in two ways that Title IX bans: quid pro quo sexual harassment and hostile workplace sexual harassment.  Under quid pro quo sexual harassment, a victim is subjected to requests to exchange sexual favors for employment benefits, or threats of employment penalties are used to pressure them into sexual favors.  Under hostile workplace sexual harassment, an employee is subjected to rude comments, bullying, or other instances of discomfort and harassment because of their sex.

Gender Discrimination

Although the specific language of Title IX prevents discrimination “on the basis of sex,” it is often expanded to include discrimination based on gender as well.  Gender identity and gender presentation are separate from sex, but they are inherently related to perceptions about sex.  As such, courts have upheld cases of discrimination under other civil rights laws where victims were subjected to harassment based on their manner of dress or gender appearance because of the employer’s expectations about how someone of a given sex should dress or act.

This means that denying employment benefits or harassing a male teacher because they are “too effeminate” or a female teacher because they are “too masculine” should also qualify as a Title IX violation.  Other issues involving sex and gender, especially for LGBTQ+ teachers and students, might also qualify as sex discrimination under Title IX, and our lawyers will pursue these cases as well.

Filing Title IX Claims and Lawsuits for High School Teachers

If you faced sex discrimination while working as a high school teacher, you may be entitled to file a claim for the Title IX violations.  A violation can often be filed with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.  You may also need to file a claim with your school directly.  Your Title IX coordinator may be able to supply you with more information about how to do this.

Title IX claims are designed to report the issues and get the school to investigate them.  Some cases may be handled by the Department of Education more directly, especially if the accusations are against the school board or others in the administration at the school.  However, these investigations may take time to be resolved, and stopping the issues might not help you get compensation for what happened to you.

Instead of, or in addition to, a complaint, you may want to file a Title IX lawsuit.  A lawsuit can help you get damages from the people who harmed you, including wages you should have received, damages for sexual assault and harassment, and other costs and expenses you faced because of the illegal sex discrimination.  For help calculating damages and determining what type of claim or lawsuit is best to file in your case, contact a lawyer.

Call Our Title IX Discrimination Lawyers for a Free Legal Consultation

Teachers who face discrimination in the workplace may be entitled to file a lawsuit or a claim using Title IX’s sex discrimination in education laws.  For help with your case, contact The Law Office of Andrew Shubin today to set up a free legal consultation with our discrimination and civil rights lawyer.  Our phone number is (814) 826-3586.


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