Disadvantages of Disregarding Sexual Orientation and Title X Lawsuits
Many legal scholars believe that the recent wave of Title IX lawsuits is rooted in political pressure to protect women. As women have risen to high positions in government and within the corporate world, they have become vocal critics of gender discrimination in all forms. For example, there are currently hundreds of Title IX lawsuits across the country that are challenging strict, restrictive rules regarding how boys and girls are treated in schools. These rules are part of the No Child Left Behind Act, a 1996 Congressional bill which mandated various federally-mandated procedures for dealing with the school sexual abuse issue.
The No Child Left Behind Act, as its name suggests, established procedures and guidelines for dealing with sexual violence on campus.
These laws were, and remain, strongly opposed by numerous college and university administrators and their faculties. In fact, many school administrators have vocally and repeatedly rejected the allegations of Title IX discrimination. Even after years of pressure from these administrators, schools have still stubbornly refused to implement the rules. While these officials claim that Title IX only applies to universities and colleges, the majority of colleges are covered by this legislation.
In the past, colleges and universities have found themselves at the center of Title VII lawsuits regarding harassment.
The most common complaint against college campuses has been over allegations of sexual assault. As one could imagine, any accusation of sexual assault is sensitive and vulnerable to attack from Title IX lawsuits. Many of these Title VII cases have been settled without the aid of a lawsuit lawyer, resulting in embarrassing and expensive settlements for both sides.
The problem of Title X sex discrimination is much more complicated.
Many of these Title X lawsuits have nothing to do with sexual assault, at least at the workplace. Instead, they deal with actions taken by school administrators or teachers, such as bullying, harassment and retaliation. While these actions may occur off-campus, the impact of them on a college campus is significant. Simply put, schools risk being found guilty of Title X discrimination if they fail to provide a safe and non-threatening learning environment for all students.
Despite repeated government attempts to reach Title X compliance, many schools continue to receive federal funding despite evidence of Title X discrimination.
Title X regulations were developed in response to long-term abuses committed at the workplace, and the vast majority of employees feel entitled to a clean break from Title X discrimination. Those who file Title X complaints can pursue a claim for up to one year. At that point, schools must receive federal money in order to settle the case. Although many schools have already settled Title X lawsuits, there are currently thousands facing the possibility of receiving federal funding for their Title X discrimination acts.
Given the significant cost of settling Title X cases brought against schools, many higher education institutions are now going above and beyond the call of duty to settle Title X lawsuits even when they are aware of federal law.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of college teachers and administrators have either not heard of Title X or do not know enough about the law to avoid being found liable for Title X discrimination. For these individuals, it may be best to leave the difficult job of Title X compliance in the hands of experienced Title X attorneys.