Understanding Retaliation Related to Title IX Actions

Title IX provides a way for students and employees at federally funded educational institutions to file a complaint if they experience sex discrimination, sexual harassment, or sexual assault. It is not uncommon, however, for individuals on both sides of the complaint to experience retaliation in response to a Title IX action. Both the person filing the complaint (complainant) and the accused (respondent) are vulnerable to retaliatory acts during and after a complaint is filed, and both parties are entitled to protection from these illegal acts.

At Parisi, Coan, & Saccocio, PLLC, we protect the rights of students and employees who are involved in Title IX complaints as respondents. If you are a respondent in a Title IX action, we can help to advocate on your behalf to help ensure that you receive full protection of your legal rights during and after any Title IX proceeding.

Title IX Protects Against Retaliation

If a Title IX complaint is lodged, the law prohibits retaliating against anyone involved in a related investigation, complaint, or proceeding. All parties involved in the complaint, including students, teachers, coaches, staff, and administrators, are protected from retaliation.

Retaliation Against Students by Educators

When you are involved in a Title IX complaint as a student complainant or respondent, it can be frightening if you feel that teachers, coaches, or other university employees may be retaliating against you due to the Title IX action. For example, if a student respondent is barred from participating in student activities during Title IX proceedings, that action by school administrators may be considered unlawful retaliation.

Retaliatory actions can include:

  • Unfair grades
  • Restrictions from school activities, including athletics
  • Suspension or expulsion
  • Rescinding of scholarships
  • Spreading rumors

Any of these actions or a threat of undertaking any of these actions may be considered unlawful retaliation. However, even though schools are not permitted to retaliate against students for their involvement in a Title IX complaint, it can be difficult to prove retaliation against students by teachers or administrators, because educators have significant power over students’ grades and learning environment. Working with an experienced Title IX attorney can help you to prove the adverse action was undertaken as a result of the Title IX action.

Retaliation Against a Student by Other Students

When a Title IX action occurs, many students may feel they need to take sides. This can be an overwhelming and unsettling experience. For example, if a student respondent in a Title IX case is harassed by another student as a result of the accusations being made in the Title IX complaint at issue, the school is obliged to take action to protect the student respondent from further harassment.

Schools must protect students on both sides of a Title IX complaint from retaliatory actions by other students, including acts of intimidation, harassment, verbal or physical threats, and coercion. Students should also be protected from other students making and spreading false or misleading statements either in print, online, or in person with the intent of harming the student’s reputation.

Retaliation Against Employees by An Institution

Employees who file Title IX complaints or are involved in a Title IX complaint as a respondent are also protected against illegal retribution. This kind of action is unfortunately all too commonplace. Unlawful retaliation against employees can take many forms, including:

  • Rescinding or withholding a promotion
  • Refusing tenure
  • Refusing a raise
  • Demotion or undesirable transfer
  • Suspension or termination
  • Harassment

For example, if you are accused of violating a Title IX provision, any action taken by administration or colleagues to derail your career during that proceeding – or after that proceeding if you are found not responsible – may be considered unlawful retaliation.

Retaliation Requires Experienced Legal Counsel

Retaliation can have a lasting impact on a student or employee’s education, career, reputation, and emotional well-being. If you are involved in a Title IX action and believe you may be experiencing retaliation, it is critical that you reach out to a Title IX attorney that is experienced with handling illegal retaliation cases.

At Parisi, Coan, & Saccocio, PLLC, we believe that everyone is entitled to rights of due process. In representing Title IX respondents, we are dedicated to helping protect those rights, including their right to freedom against unlawful retaliatory actions as a result of their involvement in Title IX complaints.

Reach out to us today either online or via phone at (737) 200-2332 to schedule a consultation.