Judge Did Not Delay Title IX Regulations From Taking Effect on August 14, 2020; OCR States Regulations are Not Retroactive

CATEGORY: Special Bulletins
CLIENT TYPE: Public Education
PUBLICATION: LCW Special Bulletin
DATE: Aug 11, 2020

After the U.S. Department of Education released final regulations for the implementation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 on May 6, 2020, multiple states and advocacy organizations filed lawsuits against the Department and asked federal judges to delay the effective date of the new regulations. The regulations were set to take effect on August 14, 2020. But on Sunday, August 9, 2020, the judge in one lawsuit, U.S. District Judge John G. Koeltl, refused to grant a delay, known as a preliminary injunction, requested in one lawsuit by the school boards for the state of New York and New York City.

The new Title IX regulations mandate how K-12 and postsecondary institutions that receive federal financial assistance must define, investigate, and adjudicate claims of sexual harassment under Title IX, the federal law that prohibits discrimination in education based on sex. Read more about the major changes in Title IX implementation here.

The school boards for the state of New York and New York City will continue to litigate their dispute about the regulations, which could continue for years. However, seventeen other states, including California, await another judge’s decision on their request for preliminary injunction. LCW will continue to monitor all lawsuits and provide relevant information as it becomes available.

While the parties continue litigating, the Department’s Office for Civil Rights addressed the issue of whether educational entities subject to the new Title IX regulations must apply the regulations to complaints of sexual harassment regarding conduct that occurred before August 14, 2020. On a blog dated August 5, 2020, OCR stated it will enforce the new regulations prospectively only starting August 14, 2020. With respect to sexual harassment that occurred prior to August 14, 2020, OCR will judge the educational entity’s Title IX compliance against the Title IX statute and the Title IX regulations in place at the time the sexual harassment occurred.

Read OCR’s blog here.

An educational entity’s obligation to address sex- and gender-based harassment and discrimination stem from a variety of sources under federal and state law. Even if an educational entity does not accept federal or state funding, the new regulations may raise issues of best practice. Educational entities should therefore review their policies and procedures in light of the new Title IX regulations and carefully consider what practices they wish to adopt.

If your school, college, or university needs assistance, please contact one of our five offices statewide.  Learn more about LCW’s Title IX compliance training programs and other resources by visiting this page.