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Massachusetts Federal Court Rules that a Discrimination Claim Under Title IX Can Proceed

Published:  August 31, 2021

Employers are familiar with Title VII, the federal law that prohibits discrimination based upon a person’s membership in certain protected categories.  Employers in higher education are also familiar with Title IX, a federal law which prohibits discrimination under any program receiving federal financial assistance.

In a typical Title VII case, an employee will bring a claim in the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (“MCAD”).  The MCAD requires that claims must be brought within three hundred (300) days of the alleged discriminatory act.  The MCAD requirement is a relatively short limitation period, which means that employers will know relatively quickly when they are facing a discrimination claim.  In a recent case, Harrington v. Lesley University, a U.S. District Court judge in Massachusetts ruled that an employee could proceed with a discrimination claim under Title IX.  The ruling is important because it establishes two separate potential causes of action under Title VII and Title IX.  It is also important because there is no procedural requirement to file a Title IX claim in the MCAD.  This means that higher education employers face a longer statute of limitations, and no procedural MCAD filing requirement, in claims brought under Title IX.

This is yet another example as to why it is important for employers to periodically review and update their anti-discrimination policies.

If you have any questions regarding investigation of employee allegations, or any other aspect of employment law, please contact the attorneys at The Royal Law Firm