March 28, 2023 | Title IX
For the past 50 years, Title IX has been an important law that protects the rights of students while receiving an education. The core value behind it is to ensure that all students feel safe and welcome in their educational environment, free of any form of discrimination or harassment.
Title IX prohibits discrimination and harassment based on sex characteristics, including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity. This means that pregnant students should not be penalized for taking a leave of absence due to pregnancy-related health issues, and new mothers must be provided with lactation spaces upon returning to school after giving birth.
Additionally, LGBTQ+ students should not face adverse treatment or be excluded from participating in activities due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. All students have the right to learn in a safe and welcoming environment free from fear or discrimination.
Proposed Regulations Under Title IX
The new regulations cover a wide range of issues related to sex discrimination. They provide full protection from sex-based harassment, including verbal and physical harassment as well as cyberbullying and other online threats.
They also protect the right of parents and guardians to support their children when it comes to discrimination based on gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation. The following are some of the specific changes that may be made to Title IX:
Change to the Definition of Sexual Harassment
The proposed regulations would expand the definition of sexual harassment. In an effort to create a safer environment in educational institutions, the proposed regulation is increasing the obligation to take action on sexual harassment by defining it as “unwelcome sex-based conduct that is sufficiently severe or pervasive.”
This definition removes the requirement of showing that the conduct is “severe, pervasive and objectively offensive” for students to receive protection.
Students will benefit greatly from this new regulation because it provides more protection against sexual harassment in their educational institutions than before. All students will benefit from a stronger institutional commitment to preventing, ending, and remedying a broader range of sexual harassment so they can focus on learning in a safer environment.
Confirm Protections Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
The proposed revisions to Title IX also affirm Supreme Court precedent regarding sex discrimination. The Supreme Court has held that anti-discrimination laws must be interpreted broadly to cover all forms of sex discrimination, including discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
In Bostock v. Clayton County (2020), the court held that employers violated Title VII by discriminating against employees because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The proposed changes to Title IX would apply this ruling and clearly provide these same protections.
Protections for Pregnancy and Pregnancy-Related Conditions
Another proposed change is to require schools to make changes to their policies and procedures to accommodate pregnant students and applicants. They would strengthen requirements that schools provide reasonable modifications for pregnant students, reasonable break time for pregnant employees, and lactation space.
Change the Standard of Proof
Under the new regulations, the standard of proof used by schools when investigating sex discrimination complaints will be a preponderance of the evidence instead of the clear-and-convincing evidence standard. This would mean that a complainant only needs to prove that their case is more likely true than not.
Informal Resolution Process & Impartiality
The proposed regulations also apply protections to informal resolution processes, as they currently only apply to formal complaints and hearings. Additionally, schools would be required to conduct all investigations and hearings with impartial decision-makers who have no personal or professional ties to either the complainant or respondent.
No Disciplinary Sanctions Without Finding That Sex Discrimination Occurred
No disciplinary sanctions can be imposed without first determining that sex discrimination occurred based on the preponderance of the evidence standard discussed above. This means that if there is not enough evidence to support a finding of sex discrimination, no disciplinary action can be taken against the accused individual.
Contact a Louisville Title IX Defense Attorney If You Need Help
If you believe that your rights have been violated under Title IX or you are being accused of violating Title IX, an attorney can help. Contact an experienced Louisville Title IX defense lawyer to schedule a free consultation.