Title IX Attorney in Atlanta
Get Defense from a Former Prosecutor
“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.”
This is Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, a federal civil rights statute that prohibits sex-based discrimination in education programs or activities that receive federal funding. Most public and private educational institutions and organizations receive federal funding through federal financial aid programs used by their students, so they are subsequently subjected to the provisions of Title IX. Specifically, Title IX laws apply to about 17,500 local school districts, 5,000 postsecondary institutions, and charter schools, for-profit schools, libraries, and museums.
A common misconception is that Title IX only applies to college athletic programs, but the fact is, this law applies to every element within the educational landscape, including:
- Counseling services
- Financial aid
- Student health and insurance benefits
- Physical education
As you can see, Title IX applies to virtually all things education-related in the US. These rules are often strictly enforced as well, meaning anyone could get accused of a Title IX violation at any time. If you are in this position, call our Atlanta Title IX lawyer for defense at (678) 918-4421 right away. With nearly 20 years of legal experience on both sides of the courtroom, you can rest assured that your case is in good hands.
Types of Title IX Cases We Defend
Sex-based discrimination can manifest itself in various ways and can affect more than just students. Title IX applies to everyone who interacts with a school, including parents and guardians, students, employees, and applicants.
- Date rape
- Domestic violence
- Sexual assault
- Sexual coercion
- LGBTQ discrimination
- Sex discrimination in sports
- Sex discrimination in education
- Hostile environment based on sex
- Retaliation based on sex
As you can see, while a significant portion of Title IX violations involves forms of sexual harassment or assault, they can also occur when someone unlawfully retaliates against another. It is illegal to intimidate, threaten, coerce, or discriminate against any individual for exercising their Title IX rights. Examples of this type of Title IX violation include:
- Giving little to no playtime for student-athletes
- Holding a student to higher, unfair standards than their peers
- Demoting someone to lower employment, academic or athletic position
Another type of Title IX violation you don’t often hear about is creating a hostile environment through bullying and harassment. These tendencies can foster fear and intimation for employees and students alike, resulting in denials or limitations in their ability to engage in or benefit from an institution or program.
Penalties for Title IX Violations
Title IX penalties can be administrative or criminal, depending on the circumstances. Violations that involve sex crimes and violent crimes are particularly vulnerable to criminal and civil proceedings. As such, the penalties for Title IX violations include, but are not limited to:
- Formal warning
- Disciplinary probation
- Participation in counseling and rehabilitative programs
- Suspension or expulsion from school
- Termination from employment
- Sex offender registration
- Denial of admission to other universities
- Barriers to employment and financial aid
- Criminal charges
- Jail time and fines
- Criminal record
Who Enforces Title IX?
Institutions must comply with Title IX laws, while the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) enforces Title IX. To enforce these laws, OCR evaluates, investigates, and resolves complaints of sex discrimination and also investigates potential systematic violations. However, reported victims tend to pursue legal action against their alleged abuser through criminal charges, warranting the help of an experienced Title IX lawyer.
Common Flaws in Title IX Investigations
Title IX proceedings are notoriously flawed because Title IX cases are generally handled without skilled legal representation. A Title IX complaint warrants an investigation by the education institution or program, which lays the foundation for a case. However, since these investigations have certain issues, you may get falsely accused of a crime such as sexual assault. To get a better idea of this, take a look at the 3 common issues found in Title IX investigations:
Biased investigators: Since police officers don’t investigate Title IX cases, institutions will hire their own investigators. These investigators are employed by such institutions, and accordingly, they may want to “please” their employer by conducting an investigation in their favor. For instance, these biased investigators may misconstrue witness statements or avoid interviewing key witnesses altogether. Think about it, if the school-hired investigator finds evidence against their employer, they may intentionally turn a “blind eye” to help protect their employer.
Gathering evidence: Title IX investigators often want to resolve the issue quickly, prompting them to take short-cuts. Like we mentioned before, these investigators may not interview witnesses, but they may also conduct poor interviews. Keep in mind that victims and witnesses may not cooperate with Title IX investigations out of fear or humiliation, making it tough for investigators to understand all sides of the story.
Analyzing evidence: You can think of Title IX investigators as judges and juries because they must draw unbiased conclusions from the evidence presented to them. Since investigators are not always properly trained or experienced in this area of law, they may misinterpret the evidence they gathered, resulting in harsh consequences for the accused.
Accused of a Title IX Violation? We Can Help.
Our Title IX defense lawyers proudly represent clients in Atlanta. We understand what’s at stake in your situation and will go the distance to help minimize the potential risks and issues you may experience in your case. Rather than letting the institution investigate your situation and decide your fate, equip yourself with effective legal representation from former prosecutor-turned-defender Matthew T. McNally.