Timing is Everything: Recent Case Highlights the Importance of Timing in Retaliation Cases

A recent court decision out of Pennsylvania provides an excellent case study on retaliation rules in Title IX cases. In M.D. v. Trinity Area School District, a Federal trial court allowed a student’s Title IX retaliation lawsuit against her school to move forward to the discovery stage. A key to the court’s decision was the “suggestive timing” between the student’s participation in the Title IX process and a negative action taken against her by a coach. The case is a good reminder of many of the fundamentals of Title IX retaliation claims, including the importance of timing.

Biden’s OCR Warns Schools to Not Discriminate Against Students and Employees Seeking Abortions

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights recently released a small guidance document with a big warning message to schools, colleges, and universities: Title IX requires educational institutions to protect their students and employees from discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, including pregnancy termination and recovery therefrom. That means schools cannot treat students or employees differently because they obtained an abortion. Schools must also treat abortion like any other temporary disability for hospital and medical benefits, services, plans, and policies. And, under Title IX, schools must provide leave to individuals for termination of pregnancy or recovery therefrom for as long as the student or employee’s physician says it is medically necessary. The guidance, issued on the 100th day after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, does not provide new law. But it is a clear warning to schools that specific actions concerning students and employees seeking or who have received abortions could lead to administrative enforcement from OCR.

Virtual Training Solutions: T&H Title IX Sexual Harassment Training for K-12 Schools

Join Thompson & Horton’s experienced Title IX attorneys for a series of training sessions that will bring your K-12 Title IX sexual harassment team members, including coordinators, investigators, decision-makers, appellate decision-makers, and informal resolution facilitators, into compliance with the current Title IX sexual harassment regulations. These sessions are geared toward the K-12 Title IX professional who wants to brush up on the basics and then put that knowledge to the test with fast-paced, real-world exercises. Thompson & Horton’s Title IX sexual harassment training sessions provide the most up-to-date understanding of Title IX compliance in an engaging format.

Register for our Fall 2022 training sessions here. Reserve your spot for our Spring 2022 training sessions here.

Thompson & Horton is pleased to offer the following sessions virtually via Zoom:

K-12 Title IX Coordinator Foundations & Practicum
November 1, 2022, 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Central
February 6, 2023, 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Central

K-12 Title IX Investigator Foundations & Practicum
October 11, 2022, 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Central
February 27, 2023, 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Central

K-12 Title IX Decision-Maker Foundations & Practicum
November 15, 2022 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Central
March 27, 2023, 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Central

K-12 Title IX Appeals Foundations & Practicum
December 6, 2022, 9:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Central
April 17, 2022, 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Central

K-12 Title IX Informal Resolution & Practicum
December 6, 2022, 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Central
April 17, 2023, 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Central

(All times are in Central Time.)

Keep reading for session descriptions and to register.

Virtual Training Solutions: T&H Title IX Sexual Harassment Training for Colleges and Universities

Join Thompson & Horton’s experienced Title IX attorneys for a series of training sessions that will bring your college or university’s Title IX sexual harassment team members, including coordinators, investigators, decision-makers, appellate decision-makers, and informal resolution facilitators, into compliance with the current Title IX sexual harassment regulations. These sessions are geared toward the college or university Title IX professional who wants to brush up on the basics and then put that knowledge to the test with fast-paced, real-world exercises. Thompson & Horton’s Title IX sexual harassment training sessions provide the most up-to-date understanding of Title IX compliance in an engaging format.

Register for one or more of our higher ed training sessions here. Reserve your spot for our Spring 2022 training sessions here

Thompson & Horton is pleased to offer the following sessions virtually via Zoom:

Higher Ed Title IX Investigator Foundations & Practicum
October 13, 2022, 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Central
February 29, 2023, 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Central

Higher Ed Title IX Coordinator Foundations & Practicum
November 3, 2022 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Central
February 8, 2023, 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Central

Higher Ed Title IX Decision-Maker Foundations & Practicum
November 17, 2022 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Central
March 29, 2023, 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Central

Higher Ed Title IX Appeals Foundations & Practicum
December 8, 2022 9:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Central
April 19, 2022, 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Central

Higher Ed Title IX Informal Resolution & Practicum
December 8, 2022 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Central
April 19, 2023, 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Central

Higher Ed Title IX Advisor Training
May 10, 2023, 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Central

(All times are in Central Time.)

Keep reading for session descriptions and to register.

DOs and DON’Ts for K-12 Building Administrators for Reports of Sexual Harassment

By Thompson & Horton’s Title IX Team

The 2020 Title IX Rules provide detailed training requirements for school district personnel who serve in formal roles in the Title IX grievance process, including the Title IX Coordinator, investigators, decisionmakers, appeal officers, and informal resolution facilitators. In their efforts to ensure all designated Title IX personnel are trained, schools may overlook the need to educate and train K-12 campus personnel—especially principals, assistant principals, counselors, and teachers—about the rules of the road when it comes to responding to allegations of sex-based misconduct, including harassment in schools.

K-12 campus employees are often the first to learn about allegations of sex-based misconduct at their schools. To their credit, building administrators usually work quickly to address problems at their campus. In some instances, campus administrators have already investigated allegations of sex-based misconduct and taken disciplinary action before the Title IX Coordinator is ever called. Although a proactive response to reported misconduct is laudable in many cases, in the context of a school’s Title IX obligations these actions can be the basis of an OCR complaint or other Title IX dispute.

Campus personnel at K-12 schools need to know what they should do and what they should not do when they learn or receive a report about potential sex-based misconduct, including harassment, at their schools. Here are some DOs and DON’Ts to get this essential conversation started. You can also use this convenient flyer to drive home these important tips. We recommend having copies on hand for campus personnel, including principals, assistant principals, counselors, and teachers, so that they can refer to it whenever they receive information about alleged sex-based misconduct at their schools.

Does Title IX Apply to Tax-Exempt Private Schools? Two Courts Say Yes

By Leila Gary, Jackie Gharapour Wernz, & Leah Northener

It’s well established that Title IX applies only to entities that receive federal financial assistance, which traditionally has been interpreted to apply to a school’s actual receipt of federal money, such as special education funds. Two recent decisions from federal courts in  Maryland and California have turned this traditional understanding on its head, holding that a school’s tax-exempt status under the federal tax code is the functional equivalent of receiving funds. What do these decisions mean for tax-exempt private and independent schools?    

The Maryland case, Buettner-Hartsoe v. Baltimore Lutheran High School Association, involved a private, independent, religiously-affiliated school that was sued for damages under Title IX. The school argued that it was not subject to Title IX because the events at issue occurred before it accepted a federal PPP loan and had not otherwise accepted federal funds. The former students argued that the school was subject to Title IX because it received a federal tax exemption as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The judge agreed, finding that an organization’s tax exemption under 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code is akin to a “Congressional subsidy and the equivalent of a cash grant” from the federal government.