Equality and Anti-Discrimination Lawyers

Higher Education

We have a lot of experience representing those who have faced discrimination and unfair treatment in higher education, students as well as staff, in the United States and United Kingdom. We’ve represented staff in claims against universities for unfair dismissal, discrimination and harassment, and frequently represent students who have experienced sexual harassment or sexual violence.  

Our founding partner, Dr Ann Olivarius, was a plaintiff in the groundbreaking Title IX lawsuit Alexander v. Yale, which established for the first time that American universities have a legal obligation to work to prevent and deter sexual harassment. We frequently bring successful cases in this area.   

Georgina Calvert-Lee, Head of our UK Practice, has represented numerous students and academics in discrimination claims against their universities. Georgina works closely with the advocacy organisation The 1752 Group. In March 2020, they and McAllister Olivarius published a sector guidance for addressing staff sexual misconduct. Georgina is regularly interviewed about universities’ responsibility to handle sexual misconduct complaints, in particular in online spaces. 

  • Students

    We’ve successfully brought cases against universities across the US for violations of Title IX, and the UK under the Equality Act, representing students who have experienced discrimination, sexual violence or sexual harassment and have not been adequately protected by their institution.

    We’ve represented student victims at major universities, such as Oxford, Cambridge, University College London, UCLA, the University of Rochester, Columbia, NYU, the University of Miami, Stanford.

    Read more
  • Staff and Faculty Members

    We advise university faculty and staff in the US and UK, from lecturers/assistant professors to vice chancellors/university presidents, on tenure and promotion, sexual harassment claims and employment disputes.

    We also provide review services and training for higher education institutions to ensure that they are compliant with relevant laws, including Title IX, the Clery Act and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

    Read more

I will always be grateful for your unwavering support of me. Equally, I will always be grateful for showing me how to find my voice and strength.

Title IX case against UCLA, client confidential

It was such a weight off our shoulders; suddenly somebody else with a lot more experience was managing the case.

Sandeep Mander, Mander and Mander v. Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead and anor

We really thought that there was nothing that anybody could do for us. We were wrong.

Dr Celeste Kidd, Aslin et al v. University of Rochester et al

To get the result you got you must be as tough with your legal opposites as you are kind and understanding to your clients.

AOA client, confidential

Compared with other law firms I’ve worked with, no one matches the combination that McO has of experience, brilliance, ferocious fighting and deep empathy for their clients.

Dr Holly Atkinson, Atkinson et al v. Mount Sinai Health System, Inc. et al

Because my case could not bear public scrutiny, a very powerful institution used massive financial resources to try to crush me for asking for my disability rights. This was a huge mistake, as they didn’t know that I would obtain McO representation. I couldn’t ask for better representation.

Disability Rights client, confidential

I would like to say from bottom of my heart, thank you. Thank you to all the team. Now I can go and forget my former employer. God bless you all.

Unfair Dismissal client, confidential