Title IX Attorney in West Palm Beach, FL
Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments is a federal civil rights law that prohibits forms of discrimination based on a student’s sex in education programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance. It intends to create a more balanced playing field for male and female students in federally funded education programs, like those offered at public schools. Examples include academic courses, athletics, and extracurricular activities.
Although Title IX is most commonly associated with gender equity in athletics, the law applies to all aspects of education. Any educational institution that receives federal funds must comply with Title IX. This includes primary and secondary schools, colleges and universities, and career and technical education programs.
Title IX claims can be brought against any educational institution that is receiving federal financial assistance and is in violation of the law. These claims are filed by students, parents, or employees who believe their rights have been violated. If you are in an educational program or activity and have been the victim of sex discrimination or sexual harassment, you may be able to file a Title IX claim with the assistance of West Palm Beach legal representation.
What Scenarios Qualify for an Illegal Breach of Title IX Rights?
There are many different ways that an educational institution can violate Title IX. Some common examples include:
- Failing to properly investigate or respond to reports of sexual harassment or assault: If an educational institution knows or should have known about sexual harassment or assault taking place on their campus, they are required to take prompt and effective action to stop it. They are also required to take steps to prevent it from happening again in the future. This includes conducting a fair and impartial investigation, providing adequate resources and support to victims, and taking disciplinary action against the perpetrator. The school can be held liable for violating Title IX if this does not happen.
- Failing to provide equal opportunities in athletics: Educational institutions must provide male and female students with equal opportunities to participate in athletics. This includes providing equal funding for men’s and women’s sports teams, equal access to practice and competitive facilities, and equal treatment in terms of coaching and scholarships. Schools can be sued for violating Title IX when they fail to provide equal opportunities.
- Discriminating against pregnant and parenting students: Educational institutions cannot discriminate against pregnant or parenting students. For example, they cannot refuse to allow a pregnant student to return to school after giving birth. They are also required to provide adequate resources and support to parenting students.
- Allowing a hostile environment to persist on campus: A hostile environment is created when sexual harassment or discrimination is so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it interferes with a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from an educational program or activity. When this happens, the school can be held liable for violating Title IX.
If you have been the victim of sex discrimination or sexual harassment in an educational program or activity, you may be able to file a Title IX claim. These claims can be complex, so it’s important to consult with an experienced West Palm Beach attorney who can help you understand your rights and options.
What Can I Sue for in a Title IX Claim?
If you have been the victim of sex discrimination or sexual harassment in an educational program or activity, you may be able to file a Title IX claim. You can sue for damages, which may include:
- Compensatory damages: This includes money for pain and suffering, emotional distress, lost wages and benefits, and other out-of-pocket expenses. For example, if you had to miss work because you were the victim of sexual assault, you could sue to recoup your lost wages while you were out.
- Medical expenses: If you incurred any medical expenses due to sexual discrimination or harassment, you could sue to have those expenses paid for. For example, if you had to go to the hospital after being sexually assaulted, you could sue to have your medical bills paid for.
- Punitive damages: This is money that is awarded to punish the wrongdoer and deter future misconduct. For punitive damages to be awarded, the court must find that the defendant acted with malice or reckless indifference.
- Injunctive relief: This is a court order that requires the defendant to take a specific action, such as providing resources and support to victims of sexual assault or increasing security on campus.
- Attorneys’ fees and costs: You may be able to recover the cost of your attorney’s fees and other litigation costs if you win your claim. This must be specifically requested in the claim, and the court will only award it if it finds that it is appropriate under the circumstances.
What Evidence Is Compelling in a Title IX Case?
Many different types of evidence can be used in a Title IX claim. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Records from the school: This can include emails, text messages, social media posts, and other records that show what happened and who was involved. The most compelling electronic communications will be those that are unprovoked and unsolicited. For example, suppose a professor sends an email refusing to provide accommodations to a pregnant student. That would be more compelling evidence than an ignored email from a student who had asked for accommodations.
- Witnesses: People who saw what happened or who heard about it from someone else can provide valuable testimony. This can include friends, roommates, classmates, professors, coaches, and others.
- Expert witnesses: These are people who have expertise in areas relevant to the case, such as the impact of sexual assault or the policies and procedures of the school. For example, the head of campus security could testify about the school’s policies for responding to reports of sexual assault.
- Physical evidence: This can include clothing, weapons, DNA, and other types of physical evidence that can help to corroborate the victim’s account of what happened.
- Medical records: These can help to show the physical and emotional injuries that were suffered due to the sexual discrimination or harassment.
- Psychological records: These can help to show the emotional impact of the sexual discrimination or harassment.
- Videos and photographs: These can provide visual evidence of what happened.