Most people know that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects people from sex-based discrimination and retaliation in the workplace. Not everyone knows that there’s another federal statute that prohibits discrimination and retaliation on the basis of sex: Title IX. Specifically, this statute states:
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 program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.
Title IX is most famous for facilitating equal opportunity for both sexes to participate in sports, but it goes far beyond that. Title IX requires any such institution to afford equal treatment in admissions, programs, counseling, financial aid, scholarships, insurance benefits, and many other aspects of education, regardless of gender. While this issue is still unsettled amongst the courts, we also believe that Title IX provides workplace protections for all employees of federally funded organizations.
At Garrison, Levin-Epstein, Fitzgerald & Pirrotti, P.C., our Title IX lawyers advocate on behalf of students and faculty to ensure their rights are protected. We have guided numerous students and faculty through their universities’ internal disciplinary procedures and have advised students and faculty members who have been targets of internal investigations discriminated against on the basis of their gender or retaliated against after they have spoken out against Title IX violations.
In addition, we also litigate on behalf of students and faculty under Title IX. In one of our more prominent cases, we co-counseled with noted civil rights attorneys Gloria Allred and Nathan Goldberg on behalf of five students and alumnae against a major university. On another prominent case, because of our written advocacy, a federal district court judge in Connecticut issued a decision ruling that Title IX protects employees from sex discrimination and retaliation. Our Title IX lawyers have been fighting for the rights of students and staff for many years and stand ready to be your advocate.
Who Does Title IX Protect?
In Connecticut and across the United States, Title IX protects any student and employee of any program or activity that receives federal funding. Most educational institutions receive some form of federal funding and are therefore subject to Title IX. It is important to remember that Title IX’s language is incredibly broad and is directed at the federally funded institution; meaning, the onus is on the federally funded institution to ensure that people—regardless of their sex—have equal access to participate in, benefit from and be free from discrimination in the institutional setting.
Students: Advocating for Equal Treatment by the Educational Institution
If you are a student and believe your rights have been violated, it’s important to first raise the issue with the persons identified in your school’s handbook, most commonly either school administrators and/or the Title IX coordinator. You can do this alone or work with a Title IX lawyer. Each educational institution must designate an individual to handle the grievance policy and all students and staff must be made aware of the contact information for this individual. This includes investigating any complaints regarding noncompliance. The process of filing a complaint must also be published for all members of the educational institution.
If the school fails to act or provides an inadequate response to your concerns, you can bring your complaints before the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights or a court. The remedies available with the latter include economic damages, emotional distress damages, attorneys’ fees, and an injunction from the court to end the discriminatory behaviors.
Employees: Bostock v. Clayton County Impacts Title IX
In June 2020, the Supreme Court issued a historic Supreme Court ruling, Bostock v. Clayton County, clarifying that Title VII’s protections against discrimination and retaliation “because of sex” extend to sexual orientation and transgender status. The Supreme Court’s broad ruling can be read to extend far beyond Title VII’s employment context to any situation where federal law prohibits discrimination “because of [an] individual’s … sex.” This includes housing, small business loans, military operations, healthcare, and education. Accordingly, the logical conclusion is that Title IX also protects the LGBTQ+ community—students and employees alike—from sex-based discrimination and retaliation by federally funded institutions.
Our Title IX Lawyers Can Help You
At Garrison, Levin-Epstein, Fitzgerald & Pirrotti, P.C., we can deliver the experience and expertise that students, faculty, and staff need for their toughest fights. If you are seeking legal counsel to vindicate your rights under Title IX, contact our Title IX attorneys today for a consultation.