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Title IX & Student Conduct Code Blog

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What Should You Do If You Believe You Were Wrongfully Terminated After a Title IX Accusation?

Title IX protects students, faculty, staff, and professors in most educational institutions from discrimination based on sex. As part of the regime, Title IX provisions prohibit institutions from retaliating against employees who file a claim or participate in the Title IX investigation.

Losing a job is one of the most extreme forms of retaliation, although the law provides remedies for other forms of unlawful retaliation such as losing research funding or being unfairly disciplined or denied tenure. So, what should you do if you lose your job in connection with a Title IX case? If you believe you have a claim, you should talk to an attorney to find out whether you could be reinstated, receive compensation, or obtain other forms of relief.

Understanding Wrongful Termination

Employers, including educational institutions, have considerable latitude in decisions to fire employees. They may be able to fire you because they didn’t like something you said or because you wear a color that the president of the university happens to hate seeing first thing in the morning.

However, you cannot be fired for an unlawful reason. You can’t be fired because you like to wear blue and the president of the university believes people of your gender should not wear blue. That would be gender-based discrimination.

You also cannot be fired just because you acted to enforce your legal rights or supported another employee or student who was enforcing their legal rights. Students and employees have the right to file Title IX complaints when they encounter an alleged violation. So if you filed a complaint and were fired for doing so, that is unlawful retaliation. If you can make a case showing the action was taken in retaliation, you could be entitled to numerous remedies.

It is difficult to find direct evidence to prove that the school fired you because you complained about a Title IX violation, but circumstantial evidence may be convincing enough to make your case. For instance, if the school claims you were fired for showing up late but you’ve been arriving at the same time for sixteen years with no complaints, then it can seem more likely that the termination was undertaken in retaliation. Collect all evidence related to your employment history and the termination.

Relief for Wrongful Termination

Title IX complaints filed through the Department of Education may offer only limited remedy options. However, if you file a lawsuit against a school for wrongful termination, you may be eligible to seek many forms of relief including compensation.

You might be most interested in getting your job back to keep your career on track. In that case, you might seek reinstatement to the same or better position. If you have moved on to a new position, you might file for compensation for lost wages, including the time while you were looking for a new job and any losses due to a decrease in pay or benefits. You might also be able to pursue punitive damages on the grounds that the retaliatory firing was egregious and other institutions need to be deterred from taking similar actions in the future.

Consult a Knowledgeable Attorney for Help After Termination Associated with a Title IX Claim

Title IX protects employees as well as students. If you have been fired or otherwise retaliated against for enforcing your rights under Title IX, you deserve the appropriate remedies. An experienced attorney at Duffy Law can fight for your rights and the best relief under the circumstances.

To talk to our dedicated Title IX attorneys about your claim, schedule a confidential consultation today.

Felice Duffy

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Attorney At Duffy Law

Attorney Felice Duffy served as an Assistant United States Attorney for ten years after beginning her legal career at two prestigious firms (one in CT and one in NY) and then clerking for two federal judges. A life-long Title IX advocate, she brought a legal action under the then-new Title IX statute against UCONN while an undergraduate to compel the creation of its women’s varsity soccer program. She went on to become a first-team Division I All-American, was selected to be on the first U.S. National Women’s Team, and spent 10 years as Head Coach of the Yale women's soccer team. Attorney Duffy has Ph.D. in Education/Sports Psychology and has spoken to, and conducted trainings for, over 50 schools and organizations on a wide range of topics involving athletics, the law, and social justice. You can reach Felice at (203) 946-2000.