How Long Can a Title IX Investigation Take?

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The legal protections under Title IX are essential in preventing and addressing issues of sex discrimination in high schools and colleges across the country.  When students and teachers feel uncomfortable because of sex-based discrimination or inequality, fast action is required.  However, claims of Title IX violations will usually lead to investigations that can seem long and drawn-out, especially if abuses and violations continue during the investigation.  Title IX violation lawyer Andrew Shubin of The Law Office of Andrew Shubin discusses how long these investigations can take and what goes into resolving claims after an investigation into Title IX violations begins.

What Happens During a Title IX Investigation?

Title IX requires schools to take claims of violations very seriously.  Every school is required to have a plan to address Title IX claims, including a policy that dictates how an investigation will be conducted.  If the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights thinks that claims about a violation are serious, they might also mount their own investigation.

Typically, an investigation for Title IX violations will work like any other investigation: evidence will be collected and witnesses will be interviewed to determine the extent of the violation and the harm related to the claim.  This investigation might be conducted by staff at the school, but for serious allegations against the school’s administration or other people in power, the OCR might handle the investigation, or it could be handed off to an independent investigator.

The goal of the investigation is typically to seek out information to decide whether the claim is true, as well as looking at how the discrimination occurred in the first place and possible ways to end the discrimination and stop future issues.

How Long Does a Title IX Investigation Take?

Title IX investigations should be very thorough.  Claims of sex discrimination in high school and sex-based discrimination in college are taken very seriously for two major reasons: first, the law requires these investigations be thorough, and second, schools often come under strong public scrutiny after Title IX claims, and they will want to make sure that they do everything they can to clear their name, often leaving no stone unturned.  Because of this, Title IX investigations can take some time.

The facts of each case will dictate how long an investigation needs to take.  If all parties are cooperative and willing to hand over information, undergo interviews with investigators, and admit to any wrongdoing, an investigation can go quickly.  However, double-checking and verifying all information can still drag out the investigation.

Many institutions claim in their Title IX policies that investigations can take up to 60 days.  This statistic is not particularly helpful since it is more of a goal than a description of how long these investigations actually take.  Again, the facts of the investigation and cooperativeness of witnesses and defendants will play a huge role in the length of the investigation, but some claims can take well over or well under the 60-day goal.

When you’re in school, 60 days can seem like a long time.  A semester is usually 15-18 weeks, depending on the school’s schedule, which means that 60 days is potentially more than half of a semester.  This can seem like a long time in the moment.  However, your attorney may be able to get status updates for you and push for investigations to be expedited or extended depending on your needs.  Talk to a lawyer for help with this.

What Happens After a Title IX Investigation?

Typically, the goal of a Title IX claim filed with the school or the Department of Education’s OCR is to get the school to stop the alleged discrimination, correct the problems by changing policies or firing offending staff members, and help the victim be restored to equal treatment.  Often, policies will be rewritten or staff members and students will face disciplinary measures commensurate with the harm they caused, and students and other victims of sex and gender discrimination in school might be reimbursed for expenses related to the discrimination.  However, this is not always enough.

Victims often deserve more.  In many cases, especially cases of serious sexual harassment and bullying or institutional sexual abuse and on-campus sexual assault, the victims may have suffered more serious harm.  In many of these cases, the victim of abuse or assault is entitled to file a lawsuit for their discrimination as well.  These lawsuits are handled through the courts instead of the school’s own channels or the OCR’s process.  These lawsuits can often help victims get substantial financial compensation, especially if the school has committed widespread or flagrant abuses and discrimination.

Talk to a lawyer before filing your claim in the first place.  A civil rights violation attorney can help guide you through the process of filing your claim or lawsuit and help you understand the upcoming timetables of your case, how the case will proceed, and what you can expect.  Your lawyer can also help protect you from unwanted privacy violations, Title IX retaliation, and any counterclaims or accusations you face after coming forward with your claim.

Call Our Title IX Lawyer for a Free Legal Consultation

If you or a loved one has faced Title IX violations in women’s athletics, sexual harassment, or other instances of sex discrimination in education, contact our attorney today.  The Law Office of Andrew Shubin’s civil rights lawyer can help victims file claims and lawsuits for Title IX violations and help them through the rigors of an investigation and the scrutiny that comes with it.  For a free legal consultation on your case, call us today at (814) 826-3586.


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