Is Sexual Harassment Directed at a University Employee a Title IX Issue?
Although students are often the focus of sexually harassing behavior on Illinois’ university campuses, the truth is that employees of a university may be subject to sexually harassing behaviors as well. Studies on the subject show that universities tend not to screen applicants for histories of sexual harassment or prior misconduct, potentially leading to hiring employees with a clear tendency towards sexually predatory behavior. Such behaviors could come from fellow employees, department managers, or even bold students. Sex-based discrimination may also be more subtle, such as being passed up on a promotion because you are pregnant or might become pregnant.
University employees who are being sexually harassed or discriminated against because of their sex may wonder whether they should file a complaint under Illinois’ laws or a Title IX complaint.
Illinois Has Laws Against Sexual Harassment
Although Title IX may be a valuable resource for stusdents who are not protected under Illinois sexual harassment laws, Title IX investigations are not subject to the same rigorous, standardized procedural processes as criminal and civil procedures under Illinois law. You may not get the investigation or adjudication you want if a sexual harassment case is handled internally through a university’s Title IX administrators. You may not necessarily be able to have an attorney, bring witnesses, or have other evidentiary rules to your advantage in a university’s Title IX hearings.
In contrast, the state of Illinois and the federal government have clear rules against sexual harassment in the workplace regarding an employer’s responsibility to manage harassment appropriately. The law applies the same to everyone all the time. You can have an attorney help you with your case and do not have to worry about your school’s specific policy for adjudicating sexual harassment cases internally. Title IX does allow for separate civil suits for cases of sexual harassment, but approaching the situation using Title IX first may not be your best option.
What Should I Do If I Complained And My Employer is Retaliating Against Me?
Although we would all prefer to believe that universities are institutions that respect the rights of the individual, universities are often under the same immense pressure to keep up a good reputation and to avoid legal liability as any other business or non-profit organization. In addition, universities are staffed by people who are subject to the same character shortcomings and biases as any other industry. Your supervisor, dean, or advisory committee may all unlawfully retaliate against you for making a complaint.
If you believe you are being retaliated against by a university or university employee for complaining about sexual harassment, it is important to believe your own perceptions and to begin making careful records of the retaliatory efforts. Retaliation could include actions like demoting you, putting unreasonable surveillance or supervision in place, reducing your workload, firing you, launching a counter-investigation to deter you from taking action, and more.
Contact a DuPage County Sexual Harassment Attorney Now
If you work at a university and have been or are currently the target of sexual harassment, take action by contacting a Wheaton, IL sexual harassment attorney with Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC. We will take your story seriously, investigate whether you may have a case against your employer, and, if so, help you get the compensation to which you are entitled. Call 630-665-7300 now.