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Choose McAllister Olivarius’ leading

Title IX Lawyers

If you’ve experienced discrimination, sexual violence or sexual harassment in education, McAllister Olivarius are here to help you fight for justice and compensation.

Challenging your univresity can feel overwhelming. We’re here to attentively listen to your experiences, clearly outline your rights, and drive your case forward with clear communication and compassion at every step.

Why McAllister Olivarius?

Groundbreaking cases

Our founding partner, Dr Ann Olivarius, was a plaintiff in Alexander V. Yale (1977), which established for the first time that sexual harassment at university constitutes sexual discrimination, which is illegal.

Fighting for your rights

Dr Olivarius remains on the feminist front lines as a lawyer fighting Title IX violations. The firm’s publicly reported Title IX cases include representing Nefertiti Takla and Kristen Glasgow against UCLA concerning the actions of Professor Gabriel Piterberg; Monica Morrison against the University of Miami; and a group of professors and students at the University of Rochester for a hostile work environment and retaliation concerning the behavior of Professor Florian Jaeger.

Kindness and compassion

Our lawyers are here to listen and gently guide you. McAllister Olivarius isn’t a behemoth law firm who will treat your case as a form-filling exercise – we’re here for the journey. We’re highly investigative and will do whatever it takes to ensure you get the justice you deserve.

How 'Alexander v. Yale' changed Title IXHow ‘Alexander v. Yale’ changed Title IX
“Alexander v. Yale” was the first Title IX case to argue that sexual harassment was discriminatory on the basis of sex.

What is Title IX?

Title IX is a federal civil rights law in the United States that prohibits sex discrimination in educational programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance. This means that students are protected from sex-based discrimination, including sexual harassment and sexual violence, in any part of the provision of education.

Educational institutions are required to have procedures in place to prevent and address these behaviors, as well as provide equal athletic opportunities for male and female students.

Our successful Title IX cases

We work on behalf of students and faculty has generated attention from national and international media outlets, including The New York Times, Newsweek, Science, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, The Huffington Post, Campus Times, Nature, and National Public Radio.

A case against the University of RochesterA case against the University of Rochester
We secured a $9.4 million settlement for ten professors and former graduate students in a lawsuit against UR for violation of Title VII, Title IX, and the New York State Human Rights Law.
A photo of the UCLA campus building that has a sign that says "UCLA".
UCLA settled our case on behalf of two graduate students who alleged UCLA violated Title IX when dealing with their claims of sexual harassment by professor Gabriel Piterberg.

Title IX: Your rights explained

Title IX prohibits the following types of discrimination:

Disparate Treatment

It is unlawful for an educational institution to discriminate against students and employees on the basis of sex. This includes unequal provision in any aspect of education, but it specifically mandates that schools and universities properly handle sexual harassment and sexual violence on campus.

To bring a Title IX complaint of discrimination based on sexual harassment or sexual violence, you need to complaint first to the university, and demonstrate that its treatment of the complaint displayed “reckless or deliberate indifference” to the harassment or violence you experienced.

For example, you are repeatedly groped at a campus party. The next day, you lodge a complaint with an employee of the university equal opportunity office, who brushes it off with
the comment that “boys will be boys.” No investigation is conducted. You may have a claim for discrimination under Title IX.

Disparate Impact

Title lX also prohibits practices which are facially neutral but have a disparate impact on one gender group.

For example, a college physical education class has a minimum height requirement of 5’6″ to ensure that participants can use all the equipment. This may be prohibited under Title IX because the rule will result in disproportionate numbers of women being ineligible for the class; the college will reasonably be expected to accommodate the substantial portion of females who are under 5’6″.

I realized what I needed most of all was to just be heard…and believed. Working with all of you has been the only positive thing that has come out of this experience.

Confidential client, Title IX case

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.

Confidential client, Title IX case against UCLA

I’m so deeply grateful for your work on my behalf and I couldn’t be happier about how this has all turned out. I’d like to think that other people can experience the same relief.

Dr. Angela Rasmussen, workplace discrimination

I realized what I needed most of all was to just be heard…and believed. Working with all of you has been the only positive thing that has come out of this experience.

Senior academic, discrimination case

Your options: OCR Complaint and Private Suit

OCR Complaint

The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is responsible for enforcing Title IX. If you believe there has been an act of discrimination to make the complaint – you may make it on behlaf of another person or group.

OCR will then investigate the complaint, and, if the investigation indicates there has been a violation of Title IX, will seek voluntary compliance from the institution and negotiate
appropriate remedies. If they cannot secure voluntary compliance, they can defer the case to the Department of Justice for court action, or begin proceedings to end the institution’s federal funding.

You may wish to use the institution’s internal grievance procedures, but you are not required to do so before initiating an OCR complaint.

Private Suit

Whether or not you choose to file an OCR complaint, you can also bring a private lawsuit against the educational institution. If your suit is successful, you may be eligible for a number of different types of compensation, including compensatory damages and attorney’s fees. There are various rules about how quickly you must do this after the discriminatory event, so it makes sense to sort these out with an attorney.

Meet our lawyers

FAQs

Sexual Harassment: I am being sexually harassed at my university. What should I do? When do I need a lawyer?

Sex-based harassment is considered discrimination based on sex, which is unlawful under Title IX. Schools and universities receiving federal funds are required to have procedures for deterring sexual harassment and disciplining those who commit it. If you think you are being harassed, you should contact your school and file a complaint.

Collect any evidence you think is relevant, like screen shots, emails and text messages. Keep a log of significant events. If there were particular incidents witnessed by other people, keep a record of their names. You can contact an attorney at any point—when you think you are being harassed, before you file your complaint with the university or if you think you should appeal your school’s decision.

Attorneys can help you navigate the situation and prepare you for Title IX proceedings. It is sometimes possible to sue a university for damages if the Title IX proceedings are badly conducted, for which it also makes sense to consult an attorney.

I don’t feel safe on campus – what should I do?

If you feel unsafe and threatened on campus because of someone who is harassing you or has sexually assaulted you, you should talk to campus police or security so that they help protect you. You can also contact local police. You may be able to access campus police by calling them directly, or via a dean, advisor or counselor. If you feel you are in immediate danger, call 911. Alternatively, you can approach the Title IX office, file a complaint and seek a no-contact order against your harasser.

What should I do if I am being retaliated against?

You should start collecting evidence, for example, take screenshots of text messages, save emails and write notes whenever somebody retaliates against you in person or over a phone call. You should always start each note with date and time of the incident and names of people who were present. Having your evidence organized will help you in making a complaint, whether to your school or in court.

Is Title IX a law?

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What does Title IX apply to?

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What are Title IX complaints?

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Are Title IX complaints public?

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What are Title IX attorney fees?

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Should I pursue a civil lawsuit?

You can learn more about the benefits and process of pursuing a civil case by reading the following page, but you should always consult a lawyer for advice on your specific case and address your concerns properly.