How Does Title IX Protect Professors?

Fighting For Important Causes In State And Federal Courts

Professors at universities and colleges throughout the country are protected from sex discrimination under Title IX.  Other civil rights legislation, like Title VII, might also help protect them from employment discrimination, but Title IX’s far-reaching sex discrimination rules help keep professors of any sex or gender free from discrimination in their jobs.  The Title IX violation lawyers at The Law Office of Andrew Shubin discuss some of these protections and when Title IX applies.

What Does Title IX Do for Professors?

Title IX is the main civil rights legislation protecting against sex discrimination at colleges and other educational institutions.  Although this law is phrased to cover discrimination “on the basis of sex,” it is often interpreted broadly to cover things related to sex, such as gender identity, gender presentation, and pregnancy.  This law makes it so that universities, colleges, and even high schools cannot discriminate against a student or a staff member because of their sex.

This law applies to all educational institutions that receive federal funding.  Since this is a federal law, it needs some hook to give the U.S. government jurisdiction to legislate on the matter, and federal funding is that hook.  This means that even private institutions that receive funding from the U.S. government must follow Title IX’s anti-discrimination rules.

What Are Some Examples of Sex Discrimination Against Professors?

Sex discrimination is quite broad and covers many types of unequal treatment or mistreatment that happen because of the victim’s sex.  Ultimately, sex discrimination comes down to treating someone differently than you would someone of a different sex.  For instance, giving only male professors tenure and excluding all female professors from tenure would be clear-cut sex-based employment discrimination in education.  However, this type of bold discrimination is rare, and discrimination usually happens in more subtle ways.

Discrimination against a professor based on pregnancy – or the chance that they might become pregnant – would be included under sex discrimination.  Firing a professor, refusing them research funding, or failing to assign them to classes because you think they might be pregnant or may become pregnant would be a clear example of treating someone differently because of their sex.

Sex discrimination at colleges and universities can also come in the form of sexual harassment.  Like at any job, workplace sexual harassment among professors or teaching staff is unacceptable.  Sexual harassment can come in two types: quid pro quo sexual harassment and hostile work environment sexual harassment.  With quid pro quo sexual harassment, sexual favors might be offered or demanded in exchange for employment benefits, research funding, positions on boards or counsels among the faculty, or avoidance of punishments or burdens.  With hostile work environment sexual harassment, bullying, mistreatment, or violence based on the victim’s sex makes the workplace a scary or dangerous environment that violates the victim’s rights.

Along with sexual harassment, institutional sexual assault or sexual misconduct can also be sex discrimination.  It is illegal for an administrator, another professor, or someone else with authority at the university to touch a professor, a student, or anyone else involved with the school inappropriately without their consent.  In many cases, this can lead to the individual and the school being held responsible.

Other examples of mistreatment or different treatment based on the professor’s sex or gender might also qualify as sex discrimination in college.

Title IX’s Remedies and Protections Against Sex Discrimination in College

Title IX puts procedures in place and creates systems by which victims of sex discrimination in education can seek justice for the harassment or discrimination they endured.

The first protection is the installation of a Title IX coordinator.  Nearly every institution covered by Title IX needs a member of their faculty designated as the Title IX coordinator, whose responsibilities include overseeing Title IX compliance and creating processes to handle Title IX complaints.  At large colleges and universities, this is often an independent position held by someone with experience in compliance, law, or administration.  Smaller institutions might give these duties to another faculty member.

Title IX also requires colleges and universities to set up processes for reporting Title IX complaints and issues.  These processes should be safe from retaliation for Title IX complaints and allow people to safely and privately file claims of discrimination and harassment.

Furthermore, Title IX creates systems within the U.S. Department of Education to file claims about a university’s Title IX violations.  Through these processes, the Department of Education can fine the institution or otherwise help enforce change that will put an end to the discrimination.  They may also order restitution to the victims.

Lastly, Title IX allows victims of sex discrimination, sexual harassment, or institutional sexual assault to file a private lawsuit against the institution.  This can help you get compensation for the harms you faced.  Especially if you faced retaliation or adverse employment decisions because of the discrimination or your report of the discrimination, you may need help recovering lost wages and other damages for the harm.  Especially if you faced trauma or physical and mental anguish from the discrimination or harassment, you may be entitled to substantial damages.

If you faced discrimination, call an attorney today to discuss how to go about filing your complaint or lawsuit and getting justice for the discrimination and harassment you suffered.

Call Our Title IX Lawyer for Professors and Teachers at Colleges and Universities

If you were subject to sex discrimination, sexual harassment, or sexual assault while working as an adjunct or a professor at a college or university, contact a lawyer right away.  The civil rights violation attorneys at The Law Office of Andrew Shubin may be able to take your case and fight to get you financial compensation and justice for the harm you endured.  Call (814) 826-3586 today to set up a free legal consultation with our attorney.


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