Effective August 14, 2020, the federal Department of Education issued new Title IX regulations which provide sweeping changes to the manner in which complaints of “Title IX Sexual Harassment,” are defined and handled.
Following the issuance of the new regulations, California education institutions of all sizes and types now have to walk a tightrope of compliance when handling reports of sexual harassment and sexual assault. This includes having to determining at the outset which grievance procedures are applicable, and modifying the procedures if a case that did not originally present as Title IX becomes subject to the Title IX framework as new facts are learned (and vice versa).
In addition, a rigorous investigation and decision-making (adjudication) process is required, with live hearings mandated for colleges and universities. The new Title IX adjudication process also includes new actors not previously required or specifically permitted before, such as officials with authority, hearing advisors, informal resolution mediators, and informal restorative justice facilitators, all of whom are required to be trained in the new regulatory framework.
As of August 14, 2020, all education institutions receiving federal funds were required to come into compliance with the new Title IX requirements. Institutions who have not yet updated policy should do so immediately. Institutions who have posted new policies should ensure they are workable as we continue to receive information from the Department of Education and new case law from federal and state jurisdictions. Additionally, education institutions should examine their team, determine which staff members will fill the newly required roles in sexual harassment complaint procedures, and when it is appropriate to outsource for those services.
Our team of Title IX legal staff is ready and able to provide legal advice, policy development support, investigation services, and decision-maker services. We also serve as appointed advisors and informal resolution facilitators at the request of education institutions. All members of our legal team are certified by NASPA and/or the National Association of College and University Attorneys in the new Title IX regulations, and bring decades of combined experience handling sexual harassment complaints on behalf of schools and private sector employers.
All members of our Title IX team are certified in the new Title IX regulations by NASPA and/or the National Association of College and University Attorneys, bring decades of combined experience handling sexual harassment complaints on behalf of schools, colleges and private sector employers, and are trained in implicit bias and trauma informed techniques.
Ms. Emerzian is experienced at advising on policy development, student and employee complaint investigations, corrective action, and managing complex and multi-complaint Title IX cases. Ms. Emerzian is trained in traditional and interest-based negotiations which she brings to the informal mediation process. She also has a strong background in implicit bias. NACUA and NASPA T9 Coordinator Certified. Cornell Diversity & Inclusion Certificate. NASPA Informal Resolution Certificate. SEEDS Restorative Justice pending (Spring 2020).
Ms. Shankar advises on student matters, Title IX, anti-harassment, anti-discrimination, and bullying matters for K-12 and higher education institutions. Ms. Shankar conducts investigations for claims of employee fraud, discrimination, harassment, and Title IX violations. She takes a holistic approach to investigations process, from initial communications, advising on supportive measures, and report preparation. NACUA and NASPA certified.
Ms. Contreras provides legal services in student conduct, HR law and special education to the firm’s clients. She provides investigation and decision maker services in Title IX matters. In particular, her background in child development and special education law makes her an ideal match for matters involving younger kids and participants with disabilities. NASPA certified, FSU Victims Services Certificate.
Ms. Valero provides support to the attorneys with scheduling, document management, report editing and serves as a resource for the team and our clients on daily administrative matters. She also serves as a facilitator for informal resolution of Title IX matters. Her past experience includes management-level administration in the healthcare sector. NACUA T9 Coordinator Certified. NASPA Informal Resolution Certificate. COS Paralegal Certificate.