Title IX is a crucial piece of legislation that ensures equal treatment in educational programs. Although its application is limited to educational institutions, its impact is far-reaching. It encompasses approximately 17,600 local school districts and over 5,000 postsecondary institutions, including charter schools, for-profit schools, libraries, museums, vocational rehabilitation agencies, and education agencies that receive federal financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Education, as confirmed by the Office for Civil Rights (OCR).
What is Title IX in Simple Terms?
Title IX, part of the Education Amendments of 1972, safeguards individuals from sex-based discrimination in any education program or activity that receives federal financial assistance. While it encompasses a wide range of non-discriminatory measures, it is famously known for its role in promoting gender equality in college sports.
“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
- Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972
The Purpose of Title IX
The main objective of Title IX is to eliminate sex-based discrimination in educational programs or activities supported by federal financial assistance. This includes addressing issues such as sexual harassment, sexual violence, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking, and quid pro quo harassment. Furthermore, Title IX ensures that claims of discrimination based on gender identity or failure to conform to stereotypical gender roles are also taken into account. Universities must investigate and resolve allegations of sexual violence involving LGBT students using the same procedures and standards as other complaints. Under Title IX, colleges are obligated to independently address these claims, establish responsibility, and implement appropriate disciplinary measures, irrespective of whether the alleged victims choose to report incidents to the police.
Over time, Title IX has expanded its provisions to encompass sexuality, sexual differences, and gender roles. In 2020, the U.S. Department of Education introduced modifications to the due process protections under Title IX, explicitly including the presumption of innocence. Additionally, schools are prohibited from imposing disciplinary actions on accused students before the conclusion of the case, although they can temporarily remove students believed to pose a risk from campus.
In 2022, the Biden Administration proposed an amendment to Title IX aimed at providing protections for transgender students against sexual violence in schools. This proposed change has garnered over 238,000 public comments, and the implementation date of the new regulations remains uncertain.
Examples of Title IX Violations
Title IX covers various forms of discrimination. Some common examples include:
- Sexual harassment
- Denying equal athletic opportunities
- Sex-based discrimination in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) courses and programs
- Discrimination based on pregnancy
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To ensure comprehensive coverage of Title IX cases, Westlaw Precision provides relevant precedents, even those that employ atypical language.
Title IX, Quid Pro Quo, and Title VII
Quid pro quo is a form of sexual harassment addressed by Title IX. It occurs when a subordinate experiences adverse consequences for refusing the sexual advances of a superior.
For instance, in 2022, a former student filed a quid pro quo lawsuit alleging Title IX retaliation against the University of New England. The plaintiff claimed that the university unjustly portrayed him as a campus threat after he reported unwanted sexual advances from a professor.
Quid pro quo, however, is not limited to Title IX. It is also prohibited in the workplace under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Title VII encompasses two types of workplace harassment claims: quid pro quo sexual harassment, where a supervisor demands sexual favors from an employee in exchange for work benefits, and hostile work environment harassment.
To ensure compliance and understanding, it is essential to conduct a thorough analysis of the law and its implications for both employers and employees. For more information on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act or Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, explore the resources available in Practical Law today and Westlaw Precision.
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