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Protecting Your Rights Against Retaliation Due to a Title IX Complaint

  • Case Results
  • Testimonials
  • List of Schools

Case Results

Here are some representative results we’ve achieved for our clients.

Female complainant’s rights, health, and safety protected throughout lengthy proceedings

Our client was sexually assaulted by a male student acquaintance. We became involved to support our client in getting proper medical treatment, preserving and collecting evidence and witness testimony, and securing therapeutic support. We helped her understand and navigate the many complex options available to her, including a criminal complaint, an informal complaint process, a formal complaint process, or doing nothing. We guided her through the informal process and then the formal process, including interviews with various school and law enforcement officials, and worked closely with the school to put in place appropriate accommodations ensuring that all interviews and hearings did not retraumatize her. The male student was found responsible and was expelled.

Large private university

Witness to sexual violence protected from intimidation

We represented a female witness to a dating violence case on campus who was being pressured to speak with the police and the school investigators about a violent matter she had witnessed on her dorm floor. We immediately communicated on her behalf to the local police, school administrators, and the Title IX investigators to protect her right to choose to not testify and ensure her safety on campus. She was very relieved not to be pressured by the school, the title IX office or the police to attend the hearing and testify about fellow students.

Small private college

Investigation of sexual assault complaint concludes with no charges filed

Our client contacted us immediately upon receiving notice by his school that a claim of sexual assault was made against him by a female student. We assisted him in preparing his detailed answer to the complaint, and then prepared him and accompanied him to his interview with the campus safety police officers. We worked with the school Title IX administrators and helped our client find evidence to show inconsistencies with the complaint. The complainant withdrew her complaint when presented with these inconsistencies and then recanted. The investigation ended and our client was not charged with anything.

Midsized private college

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Client Testimonials

I was introduced to Attorney Duffy by my criminal defense attorney because I was fighting both a criminal charge and a conduct code violations charge. Felice's office responded right away and she and I met by Zoom video. She and her team were respectful, professional and super knowledgeable. They made everything clear and easily understandable. They knew exactly what questions to ask the school officials to get them to focus on the facts that supported my case. I was incredibly well prepared. I knew what I was going to say before I went in to my interviews and how to react to the many questions that would have tripped me up. I got probation, which was definitely the best possible outcome and I couldn’t have gotten that without Attorney Duffy’s help.

College Junior

“When your kid is accused of a serious conduct code violation at his college, you quickly learn that there’s a whole different set of rules in place than in the real world. There are no legal standards, no assurances of a “fair trial.” You're presumed guilty and you have to backtrack and prove why you’re NOT guilty. We pretty quickly realized that we needed strong legal representation and guidance. Our son was completely falsely accused and we were ready to dig in to clear his name.

Felice's truly unique background and deep experience with navigating the school’s process was amazing. She made it clear that our son was the client, not us (his parents). She worked with him extensively and earned his total trust. He felt empowered that he had the right person in his corner to defend him. Felice gave our whole family a sense a calm and confidence.

Thanks to incredibly hard work by Felice and her team, our son was found “not responsible” (meaning innocent of any wrongdoing). The outcome was everything we could have hoped for.

I have already recommended Felice to a friend who’s son was caught up in a serious, very complicated conduct code charge, and I will continue to recommend her to any student or parent without reservation.”

Parent of a private college senior

“I selected the firm after doing extensive research trying to locate an attorney that specializes in sexual assault cases on university campuses. Late one night I emailed her for a consult just to see what she had to say. By 6:30am the next morning she had already emailed me back leaving her information for me to call her. I was impressed by her promptness and early morning response. Our criminal attorney informed our family that this simply wasn’t his specialty and strongly recommended we hire someone who really understood how university disciplinary systems work.

In our culture, we are not often trusting and it took a huge step of faith to consider someone we didn’t know (much less one from out of state) to defend our son.

Based on her collegiate athletic background I felt that she would have a better understanding of our case as our son is a D1 athlete. Based on that and her professional accomplishments I felt like she was driven and determined and she clearly had the ability to understand the laws associated with Title IX.

Bottom line is that our son was found 100% not responsible (meaning not guilty) of the extremely serious charges that were brought against him by a female student.

Felice Duffy and her team were professional, focused, responsive and did a great job throughout the entire stressful ordeal. When we think about how badly and unfairly our son might have been treated by the school, we truly count our blessings that we found Ms. Duffy.”

Parent of a College Sophomore, Ohio

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Schools Where We've Handled Cases

Here are just some of the schools where we’ve represented students, faculty, coaches, and staff:

  • Amherst College
  • Arkansas State University
  • Bowling Green State University
  • Charter Oak State College
  • Colgate University
  • College of the Holy Cross
  • Columbia University
  • Connecticut College
  • Dartmouth College
  • Fairfield University
  • Flagler College
  • Florida State University
  • Guilford College
  • Howard University
  • Illinois Institute of Technology
  • Indiana University
  • Lesley University
  • Marist College
  • Marquette University
  • Miami University
  • Mississippi University
  • Pennsylvania State University
  • Plymouth State University
  • Quinnipiac University
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • Rice University
  • Sacred Heart University
  • South Carolina State University
  • St. John's University
  • St. Lawrence University
  • Syracuse University
  • Swarthmore College
  • Tallahassee Comm. College
  • Touro University
  • Trinity College
  • Tufts University
  • University of Connecticut
  • University of Kansas
  • University of Mass. Med. School
  • University of Miami
  • University of Missouri
  • University of Northern Colorado
  • University of Texas
  • University of Virginia
  • University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
  • Utah University School of Medicine
  • Vassar College
  • Virginia Wesleyan University
  • Washington University, St. Louis
  • Wesleyan University
  • Westfield State University
  • Western Washington University
  • Wheaton College
  • Yale University

Title IX is a complicated law with provisions that protect students and employees of federally-funded schools from sex discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual assault. If these kinds of misconduct occur at a K-12 school, college, or university that receives any federal funds, the victim of the misconduct has the right to file a complaint regarding the conduct. Although lodging a complaint is a protected right, many people who do so find themselves facing adverse reactions from the institution or other parties involved in the complaint.

Fortunately, Title IX also prohibits a school or party to a complaint from retaliating against anyone involved in an investigation, complaint, or proceeding. Parties on both sides of a complaint, as well as involved teachers and coaches, are protected from retaliation. Unlawful retaliation occurs when the following are true:

  • A party engaged in protected activity
  • Another party took adverse action against them
  • The cause of the adverse action was the protected activity

While most schools strive to prevent retaliation, sometimes the school administration is the retaliating party. If you believe that you have suffered unlawful retaliation for your participation in a Title IX complaint or proceeding at your institution, you should seek legal advice from a knowledgeable Title IX attorney as soon as possible.

Retaliation by Other Students

When two students are on opposite sides of a Title IX sexual misconduct allegation, it should be no surprise that they may have ill feelings toward one another. However, schools are required to take proper measures to protect each student from any form of retaliation by the other. First, the prohibition against retaliation should be clearly stated in each school’s sexual misconduct handbook. This policy should make it clear that Title IX prohibits any retaliation against anyone involved in a Title IX complaint.

Retaliation can take many forms between two students and determining whether retaliation occurred is a very fact-specific matter. If you’ve been accused of retaliation or believe someone else has retaliated against you, our legal team can evaluate what happened and advise whether you may have a Title IX retaliation claim.

Retaliation claims may be especially common when the school has issued a no-contact order between the students. If the students were acquaintances or friends and an allegation arises, the accused student may try to talk to the complainant to explain or clarify what happened or even to apologize. Even if the student may have been trying to reconcile, violation of a no-contact order is often considered to be a form of retaliation under Title IX and the school’s policies. In this situation, something as simple as saying hello to someone could result in a retaliation claim.

Students accused of retaliation may face an additional disciplinary charge and possible sanctions under their school’s handbook. For this reason, it is important for students to always obey no-contact orders and for schools to take proper measures to prevent retaliation whenever possible. If a school allows retaliation to occur, the victim could then have a separate Title IX claim against the school.

Retaliation by Institutions

Students are not the only parties who may be accused of unlawful retaliation under Title IX. Institutions may not engage in any form of retaliation against students, teachers, coaches, or other employees who are involved in a claim. For example, if a student complains about the unequal treatment of male and female athletes, the school cannot then exclude that student from the athletic team in retaliation for the complaint. If a student complains of sexual assault, the school may not retaliate by enacting harsh interim measures against the complainant, such as a much less desirable schedule or housing, or excluding them from activities.

Retaliation by a school is particularly common against employees who complain of Title IX violations. If a teacher reports sexual harassment or assault, whether it involves the teacher or a student on campus, the school may not then take adverse action against the teacher for making the report. Adverse action can take many forms, including:

  • Refusing a promotion
  • Refusing to grant tenure
  • Refusing a pay increase
  • Suspension
  • Demotion
  • Transfer to a less desirable position or department
  • Termination

Retaliation can even involve harassment or mistreatment by supervisors, such as within an athletic department. Title IX prohibits any type of adverse action against school employees in response to the employee exercising their rights under the law. Employees can bring retaliation claims against institutions just like students can.

Handling Complex Retaliation Claims

Retaliation claims may be difficult and complex, as schools or students will rarely freely admit that they acted in retaliation. Instead, a pretextual reason may be offered for the adverse treatment. If a student is kicked off a sports team, the coach may claim it was due to poor performance or lack of sportsmanship when, in reality, it was a response to a Title IX complaint. If a professor is refused tenure, the school may claim it was based on lack of merit when it was actually retaliation for complaining of sexual harassment in the department.

Victims of retaliation often have much to lose, including their jobs and their educational opportunities. If you are concerned that you may experience, or have already experienced, retaliation because of involvement in a Title IX complaint, you need the right Title IX attorney on your side every step of the way.

Our Experienced Title IX Retaliation Attorneys Are Here to Help

At Duffy Law, we are committed to protecting your rights under Title IX, including the right to be free from unlawful retaliation. We can represent clients in their underlying Title IX complaints, as well as any addition retaliation claims that may arise. Our highly knowledgeable lawyers have extensive experience handling Title IX and college misconduct cases and we understand the procedures and requirements involved in ensuring successful resolution.

If you think you’ve been a victim of retaliation or that your rights under Title IX were violated in another way, please do not wait to call our office at 203-946-2000 or contact us online today.

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