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Quid Pro Quo Harassment Under Title IX

Title IX By Harvey Binnall PLLC - 2020/11/16 at 11:53am

Hire a Skilled Title IX Lawyer in Alexandria, VA

If you’ve been accused of quid pro quo harassment under Title IX,  you could be facing serious penalties, from losing your position to being suspended or expelled (if you’re a student), to having the accusation “follow you around” for the rest of your career — a poor situation indeed, especially if you are just beginning your career.

The situation can be quite frightening, but it’s important to understand that you are not without options.  A quid pro quo sexual harassment accusation can be countered in a number of different ways, and with the assistance of a skilled Title IX lawyer, you may be able to avoid a negative result.

Let’s take a closer look.

What is Quid Pro Quo Harassment?

In the Title IX context, quid pro quo harassment is one of the forms of sexual harassment that qualifies as a Title IX violation.  It occurs when a school employee (or agent of the school) creates a situation in which a student’s participation in an education program or activity is conditioned on the student’s submission to sexual conduct, whether verbal, nonverbal, or physical in nature.

For example, if you’re a teaching assistant (TA) in a biology lab, and you offer to raise a student’s lab-grade if they perform sexual favors for you, then that would almost certainly constitute quid pro quo harassment.

It’s worth noting that quid pro quo harassment does not require explicit conduct.  The harassment may be implicit.  If a TA continuously makes veiled allusions as to their request for student sexual favors without outright saying so, then that may still qualify as quid pro quo harassment.

Counter-Arguments

In defending against a quid pro quo harassment claim, you can undermine the accusations brought by the student-accuser in a number of different ways, by arguing that:

  1. No exchange of favors was implied or expressed;
  2. You are not an employee or agent of the school;
  3. The student-accuser has some alternative motive for bringing the accusation; or
  4. If a sexual relationship existed, it was consensual and not premised on the provision of some academic benefit.

So, for example, suppose that you are a student and tutor who is not connected to the University in any official employment/agent capacity.  You simply tutor other students in your free time for payment.  If you and another student begin a sexual relationship in exchange for extra tutoring help, that may be somewhat unethical, but it would likely not constitute a Title IX violation (as you are not an employee or agent of the school in your tutoring capacity).

Contact a Title IX Lawyer for Defense Assistance

Harvey & Binnall, PLLC is a boutique litigation firm with extensive experience handling Title IX cases, having represented students and others, helping them navigate the complex procedural battles typical of such disputes.  We understand the unique challenges of a Title IX dispute, and how a simple accusation can give rise to a set of unexpected problems that have a domino effect on the accused’s life.

It’s our goal to simplify the Title IX process, advocate strongly for our clients at every stage of the dispute, and give them the tools necessary to counter the accusations.  By working closely with our clients from the start of the process, we gain key insights that ensure we can better represent their interests.

Ready to speak to an experienced Title IX lawyer at our firm?  Call us at 703-888-1943 or send us a message online to schedule a consultation with an attorney here at Harvey & Binnall.