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Examples of Title IX Violations and Complaints

Posted by Kara Hoopis Manosh | Nov 14, 2021

If you or a loved one has been accused of a Title IX violation, you may feel overwhelmed and curious whether the alleged violation has legal merit.  You may also be wondering what else qualifies as an example of a Title IX violation. No matter what violation you may find yourself involved in, your case deserves attention and vigorous and quality defense. 

Title IX Overview

Title IX is a federal law that was originally passed as part of the Education Amendments in 1972. It prevents discrimination based on sex or gender at institutions that receive federal funding. Title IX is enforced by the United States Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights.  

Who Does Title IX Apply To?

Title IX applies to any educational institution that receives federal funds. This includes schools (for-profit and non-profit) and local and state educational institutions, in addition to museums, libraries and vocational rehabilitation agencies. Title IX applies to many stakeholders in the institution, including:

  • Faculty and Staff
  • Administrators
  • Students
  • Vendors
  • Part-time employees

Common Areas Title IX Applies To

Title IX was enacted to prevent gender-based discrimination in educational settings. Key areas where Title IX has historically applied include:

  • Athletics
  • Recruitment and admissions
  • Sex-based harassment
  • Employment

Examples of Title IX Violations

While Title IX focuses specifically on gender-based discrimination, it has been applied broadly when this discrimination happens in an institutional or educational setting. Below is a list of examples of more common Title IX violations and complaints.

Gender Discrimination

Gender-based discrimination can occur either in an athletic, academic, or office setting. If someone has been discriminated against because of their gender, then the institution or a stakeholder representing the institution may violate Title IX. Examples of gender-based discrimination include:

  • Treating someone differently or poorly because they are of a particular gender.
  • A men's and women's athletic coach who treats their female athletes with sexist behaviors.
  • Offering athletic programs for one gender and not both genders.
  • An employee who bullies an employee of the opposite sex because of their gender.
  • Discrimination against pregnant employees.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment occurs when someone fields unwanted advances, comments, or behaviors because of their gender. For example, someone may request a sexual favor repeatedly when the other person has made it clear that they are uncomfortable. In addition, if someone is constantly saying damaging remarks about someone's gender, that could also qualify as sexual harassment under Title IX.

Title IX focuses on the type of sexual behavior that interferes with someone's right to an education and/or participation in a program or activity. If participation is negatively impacted because of derogatory words or sexual behavior, then that could also be a violation of Title IX.

Hostile Environment

Hostile environments are environments that are adverse, and undesirable to be a part of. They may be uncomfortable due to discrimination or unwanted sexual advances.  A hostile environment can also be an environment that is overly intimidating, and which induces fear intentionally. Hostile environments are an example of a Title IX violation because they prevent someone from benefiting from or being able to contribute to a job or program.

Sometimes, it is hard to determine if you are in the middle of a hostile environment. Often, it boils down to someone's perception of what is occurring. If you have been accused of creating or propagating a hostile work environment, then experienced attorney Kara Hoopis Manosh can provide a vigorous defense and ensure that your voice is heard.


If you are accused of a Title IX violation, you must be cautious as to not retaliate against someone who has claimed that a violation has occurred. This is because even if they are in the wrong and a violation did not initially happen, any retaliation taken against this individual could also be considered a violation of Title IX.

If you actively choose not to promote or advance someone because of their involvement in a Title IX violation claim, then that may also be seen as retaliation. Before taking any course of action, it is recommended that you consult with an experienced Title IX defense attorney to ensure that your voice is heard and that your rights are protected throughout the investigation process.

Sex Violence

Sex violence includes sexual assault, battery, and sexual abuse. Anything that involves force or manipulation, especially where a lack of consent is involved, may be a violation of Title IX. This can include inappropriate touching, unwanted advances combined with force, and physical or sexual aggression.  Each college/university establishes its own definitions for each of the relevant terms. 

Updated Title IX Rules on Sexual Harassment

On August 2020, the Department of Education enacted updated Title IX rules on sexual harassment. If you have been accused of sexual harassment and are part of a Title IX investigation, these new and final rules may have an impact on how your case is determined.  It is recommended to familiarize yourself with the updated rules or to engage a Title IX defense attorney who can explain how the new rules may affect the facts of your particular case.  

The updated rules made some significant changes to the original rules, including, but not limited to:

  • The definition of sexual assault has been narrowed.
  • The definition of sexual assault no longer includes violations that occur outside of a program or off-campus.
  • Schools may choose what type of standard of evidence to use.

What Happens When a Complaint Is Filed

If you are involved in a Title IX complaint, do not be alarmed when your place of employment or school begins to investigate. Under Title IX, schools are obligated to pursue claims and investigate not only what happened but also to determine and lay out any potential penalties if fault is found.

If you are found guilty of violating Title IX, penalties can include, but are not limited to:

  • Loss of a job or responsibilities
  • Expulsion from school
  • Removal from scholarship
  • Change in job

Contact an Experienced Title IX Defense Attorney Today

It can be overwhelming if you are accused of potentially violating Title IX. Your job and reputation may be at risk. If you are wondering whether any of your actions qualify as an example of a Title IX violation, an experienced Title IX defense attorney can help. We can explain what your rights are and ensure that you are adequately represented throughout the Title IX hearing process.

About the Author

Kara Hoopis Manosh

Attorney Manosh has dedicated her entire career to defending the rights of the criminally accused. She has handled thousands of cases, appearing in every courthouse in the State of Rhode Island.

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