Supreme Court Ruling Strengthens Title IX, Protects Whistle-Blowers
The US Supreme Court ruled today that those who are the victims of retaliation for drawing attention to Title IX violations can sue under the 1972 federal law prohibiting sex discrimination at institutions receiving federal financial assistance for education programs and activities. The court ruled 5-4 in favor of Roderick Jackson, a basketball coach in Alabama who claims that he was fired for complaining that the girls’ basketball team was forced to use substandard facilities and equipment and was denied funding equal to that received by the boys’ basketball team. Jackson’s case was dismissed by lower federal courts, including the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled that Title IX does not allow any specific right to sue over alleged retaliation, only over direct discrimination.
“Without protection from retaliation, individuals who witness discrimination would likely not report it, indifference claims would be short-circuited, and the underlying discrimination would go unremedied,” Justice Sandra Day O’Connor wrote for the majority opinion. O’Connor also stated that retaliation against someone who complained about sex discrimination amounted to intentional discrimination on the basis of sex, Reuters reports.
The Department of Justice filed a brief in support of Jackson last year. “Teachers and coaches are often in a much better position to identify sex discrimination and express opposition to it than are the students who are denied equal educational opportunities,” wrote US Solicitor General Theodore B. Olson in the brief.
The participation of girls in high school athletics has increased by 847 percent since Title IX took effect in 1972, and the participation of women in college sports has increased 400 percent.
12/11/2013 Human Rights Day Celebrated Around The World - Yesterday marked International Human Rights Day, a day to celebrate human rights advances and to assess the challenges that lie ahead in protecting them.
"The fundamentals for protecting and promoting human rights are largely in place: these include a strong and growing body of international human rights law and standards, as well as institutions to interpret the laws, monitor compliance and apply them to new and emerging human rights issues," said United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay in a statement. . . .
12/11/2013 UConn Under Federal Investigation For Mishandling Sexual Assault Cases - The US Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) informed the University of Connecticut on Monday that it will investigate the school for allegedly mishandling sexual assault cases and violating Title IX, the federal law that requires all recipients of federal financial assistance for education programs and activities to prohibit sex discrimination and sexual harassment [PDF].
The investigation was sparked after seven women filed a formal complaint in October alleging that UConn had failed to protect them from sexual assault and exposed them to a sexually hostile environment.One woman says her attacker was expelled from campus but later readmitted without her knowledge. . . .
12/11/2013 Massachusetts Democrat Katherine Clark Wins Congressional Seat - Democrat Katherine Clark will become the fifth woman to represent Massachusetts in the US House Tuesday, after easily defeating three opponents in a special election.
"Six years ago, there wasn't a single woman representing Massachusetts in Congress," said Niki Tsongas, the only other woman representing Massachusetts in the House. . . .