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School Discrimination Lawyers for College Students

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We Represent Students and Employees In Claims Under the Civil Rights Acts and Other Applicable Laws

Schools should be among the safest and most inclusive environments available to students, faculty, staff and coaches. Colleges and universities should foster diverse living facilities, classrooms, locker rooms and workplaces, and they should take steps to ensure that all individuals on their campuses feel welcome, comfortable and supported.

Unfortunately, as we all know, this isn’t always—or even often—the case.

Students and employees across the country find themselves in need of school discrimination lawyers on a daily basis. At Duffy Law, we handle discrimination claims against colleges and universities nationwide. If you feel that you are a victim of discrimination, it will be important for you to have a clear understanding of your legal rights, and this means that you should discuss your situation with a lawyer in confidence.

Types of Cases Our School Discrimination Lawyers Handle

Our school discrimination lawyers represent students, faculty, staff and coaches who are victims of all forms of discrimination. This includes not only discrimination on campus, but also off campus in many cases. Some of the most common types of discrimination include:

Sex Discrimination

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is perhaps one of the most well-known laws prohibiting discrimination in the academic environment. Under Title IX, colleges and universities that receive federal financial assistance are prohibited from discriminating against students and employees in educational and athletic programs based on their biological sex. Other laws prohibit sex-based discrimination against students and employees as well.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is also considered a form of sex discrimination. Under no circumstances is sexual harassment appropriate in the academic, athletic or work environments. Students and employees who are victims of sexual harassment have clear legal rights that our school discrimination lawyers can assert on their behalf.

Disability Discrimination

With the exception of private colleges and universities that do not receive any federal financial assistance (which includes federal student aid), all schools are prohibited from discriminating against individuals who have disabilities. Notably, this includes the broad category of learning disabilities, several forms of which, including depression, ADHD, and autism fall under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Title IX law requires schools to provide reasonable accommodations to students and employees who have disabilities when needed, in both the regular course of their activities and when involved in any type of disciplinary action brought by the school.

Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Discrimination

Colleges and universities are generally prohibited from discriminating against students and personnel (as well as prospective students and job applicants) based on their gender identity or sexual orientation. As with other forms of discrimination, this includes not only denying or terminating admission or employment but many other types of discriminatory practices as well.

Pregnancy and Parental Status Discrimination

Pregnancy discrimination is considered a form of sex discrimination, and it is prohibited in employment as well as educational programs and activities. Schools cannot discriminate against any individuals based on the fact that they are pregnant or may become pregnant, nor can they discriminate based on any other parental status.

Racial Discrimination

Racial discrimination is prohibited in all areas of education, including (but not limited to) admissions, academic programs, athletic programs and employment. Prohibitions include those against racial discrimination in housing, enrollment, assignments, awards and recognition, and virtually all other academic and employment-related matters. Along with outright racial discrimination, state and federal anti-discrimination laws (as well as most colleges’ and universities’ codes of conduct) also prohibit school personnel from making decisions that reflect racial bias, whether implicitly or explicitly.

Religious Discrimination

Various federal laws protect students and personnel from religious discrimination in college and university settings. This includes (but is not limited to) forms of religious discrimination such as prohibiting religious headwear and clothing, denying access to activities and opportunities based on religious beliefs, and providing disparate treatment to secular and religious student-run organizations.

Age Discrimination

Colleges and universities that receive financial assistance from the federal government are prohibited from discriminating based on age in their federally-funded programs and activities. Colleges and universities are also prohibited from engaging in age-based employment discrimination that negatively impacts job candidates and employees who are 40 years of age or older.

Laws That Protect Students and School Employees Against Discrimination

There are numerous state and federal laws that protect students and school employees against discrimination both on and off college campuses. Note that not all of these laws will apply to you as a student or school employee. To determine which laws apply to you based on your individual circumstances, you will need to discuss your situation with one of our school discrimination lawyers. Examples of federal laws that may protect you include:

  • Age Discrimination Act (ADA) and Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
  • Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA)
  • Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA)
  • Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA)
  • Rehabilitation Act of 1973
  • Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title Four”)
  • Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title Six”)
  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title Seven”)
  • Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (“Title Nine”)

Several key court decisions protect students’ and employees’ right to be free from discrimination in the school environment as well. For example, the U.S. Supreme Court Case of Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia provides that terminating an employee’s employment based on the employee’s sexual orientation or transgender status violates Title VII as a form of sex-based discrimination.

What To Do if You Believe You Have a School Discrimination Claim

If you believe you may have a claim for school discrimination, there are some steps you should take promptly, including:

1. Contact Our School Discrimination Lawyers

In addition to the steps you can take on your own, there are also steps you will need a lawyer to take on your behalf. This includes steps such as gathering relevant information, determining which specific laws protect you, and pursuing your claim (or claims) through the appropriate channels.

2. Take Detailed Notes

We recommend that all individuals who believe they may have school discrimination claims take detailed notes. When and where did the incident occur (or do you believe you are a victim of ongoing discrimination or bias)? Who was involved? Is anyone else aware? What have you done thus far (if anything)? These are all important details that will help our school discrimination lawyers assess your legal rights.

3. Protect Yourself

If you are a victim of sexual harassment, disability discrimination, or any other form of discrimination that compromises your health or safety, you should do everything you can to protect yourself. Unless advised otherwise by your lawyer, you should not return to a dangerous or discriminatory environment.

4. Get Your Questions Answered

As you move forward, you will almost certainly have questions. We are here for you, and we want you to get in touch when you have questions. Dealing with your situation won’t be easy, and it is important that you have the information you need to make smart decisions.

5. Be Prepared for the Process to Take Time

Special procedures govern school discrimination claims, and the process of asserting your legal rights takes time. But, it is also a process that is extremely important, so it is just important to prepare yourself to be patient as your case moves forward.

What NOT To Do if You Believe You Have a School Discrimination Claim

In addition to taking the steps above (as well as any other steps recommended by your lawyer), there are also some things you should avoid doing if you believe you may have a school discrimination claim. For example:

1. Do Not Confront the Perpetrator

You should not confront the perpetrator. This will not help your case, and it could potentially put you at risk for physical or psychological trauma. At this point, you should only address your situation through our team of school discrimination lawyers.

2. Do Not Discuss Your Case with Colleagues or Classmates

This also means that you should not discuss your case with colleagues or classmates. If you have colleagues or classmates who are witnesses and who can testify on your behalf, our lawyers will contact them at the appropriate time.

3. Do Not Post About Your Case on Social Media

Now is also not the time to post on social media. No matter how you may feel, and no matter how much you may want the world to know what is going on at your school, posting on social media is not the right approach at this time.

4. Do Not Put Yourself in a Harmful Environment

If you have experienced discrimination in the classroom, in the workplace, or anywhere on or off campus, you should not put yourself back in that harmful environment. If you are concerned about missing class or facing employment-related consequences, our lawyers can address this on your behalf.

5. Do Not Assume Your Voice Won’t Be Heard

Finally, do not assume your voice won’t be heard. Anti-discrimination laws exist for a reason, and there are clear paths toward justice for victims of discrimination in the school environment. Our school discrimination lawyers have had significant success representing students, faculty, staff and coaches across the country.

When you schedule a consultation with one of our school discrimination lawyers, we will walk you through everything you need to know. We will answer all of your questions, and we will ensure that you feel confident in your next steps.

FAQs: Understanding Your Legal Rights as a Victim of School Discrimination

How Do I Know if I Have a Claim for School Discrimination?

While some instances of discrimination are obvious, it isn’t always easy to tell whether you have a legal claim against a college or university. The laws in this area are varied and complex, and many subtle forms of discrimination can present borderline cases. If you have questions or concerns, the best way to learn about your legal rights is to speak with a lawyer who is familiar with situations such as yours.  

How Do I File a Complaint for School Discrimination?

The procedures you need to follow in order to file a complaint for school discrimination depend on the specific situation at hand. For example, as a student, you may need to begin by filing a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR). If you are a college or university employee, your first step may be to file a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or another agency. Our school discrimination lawyers can determine the steps you need to take based on the circumstances presented.

What Legal Remedies Can I Seek for School Discrimination?

The legal remedies that are available to you also depend on your specific situation. Depending on the circumstances of your case, the remedies that are available to you may include monetary compensation, admission or reinstatement, an injunction against further discriminatory conduct, and changes to the school’s discriminatory policies and practices, among others. When you choose our school discrimination lawyers to represent you, we will help understand and thoroughly evaluate your options, and then we will work toward your desired outcome.

Contact the School Discrimination Lawyers at Duffy Law

If you would like to know more about pursuing a claim for school discrimination, we encourage you to schedule a consultation with one of our school discrimination lawyers. We provide remote consultations to students, faculty, staff and coaches nationwide. To speak with a lawyer in confidence at your convenience, call 203-946-2000 or tell us how we can reach you online today. 

How Can We Help?

How Can We Help?